To complete the $153-million, 577,000-sq-ft Wake County Justice Center, the design and construction team found ways to expedite tasks and deliver substantial portions of the project early.
A thorough logistics plan revealed that the site could sustain three tower cranes for the first half of the job, which expedited building the concrete structure. The team also created 3D models of all MEP systems prior to fabrication, and did the same for courtrooms, security systems and the underground tunnel that connects the courthouse to the public safety center. As a result of these efforts, contractors were able to deliver some portions of the project as much as six months ahead of schedule.
Before the project could come out of the ground, though, crews had to contend with difficult soil conditions. Across the site, there is a gradual transition from soil to rock, which created a zone locally termed as partially weathered rock, or PWR. This material occurs over variable thicknesses, and its depth can vary erratically over relatively short distances. Engineers recommended augured, cast-in-place piles bearing in the PWR over other deep foundation systems to allow flexibility in both the installation depth and location of the foundation elements. If the piles installed to support construction cranes were not long enough due to the depth of the PWR, they would not provide sufficient uplift resistance to support the crane. The Barnhill/Balfour Beatty team developed a contingency plan that used rock anchors if required for the needed uplift resistance.
The completed facility features 19 criminal courtrooms; a boardroom equipped with broadcast facilities; two levels of below-grade parking; and a central energy plant. The building's exterior is composed of granite, architectural precast concrete, glass curtain wall and insulated metal panels. A lantern that uses LED technology glows atop the structure. The center's interior features a five-story atrium with stone-clad walls and terrazzo flooring..
Best Government/Public Building — Wake County Justice Center, Raleigh
Contractor Barnhill Contracting Co./Balfour Beatty Construction, a Joint Venture, Raleigh
Owner Wake County, Raleigh
Architect O'Brien Atkins Associates, Durham, N.C.
Structural Engineer Summit Design and Engineering Services, Hillsborough, N.C.
Associate Architect HOK, Washington, D.C.