MVUT (The Casey Brown Co.) - AMP&RSAND
San Diego
Best Project

Owner: The Casey Brown Co.
Lead Design Firm: Wolcott Architecture
General Contractor: C.W. Driver
MEP Engineer: McParlane & Associates
Electrical Engineer: Michael Wall Engineering
Structural Engineer: Coffman Engineers
Civil Engineer: Latitude 33
Landscape Architect: Lyn Capoya Inc.

The redevelopment of the former San Diego Union-Tribune Publishing Co. campus, including an overhaul of a five-story office tower and a three-story printing press facility, both constructed in 1973, created Class-A office space. The property was named for the ampersand character, the last figure in the typesetter’s alphabet and the last character printed when the Union-Tribune shut its presses in 2016.

Project team members collaborated to transform the cavernous, windowless printing-press facility into an appealing space. Modifications called for adding 30 windows and removing the central roof structure to create an open courtyard, which required structural enhancements. Crews drilled 19 micropiles more than 100 ft into bedrock, adjacent to existing piles.

The new exterior windows required a lateral-load-resisting system and called for lamination of epoxy-coated carbon fiber sheets throughout the building to increase lateral-load strength.

The five-story tower incorporated large outdoor patios on its top level—space the developer opted to partially convert to leasable indoor space. To avoid a seismic upgrade, the team used Styrofoam piers and ultra-lightweight concrete to infill the patios and create interior spaces. The composite weight of the infill, including foam and concrete, came to only 28 lb per cu ft. Renovated spaces have 13-ft-tall ceilings, abundant natural light and an industrial aesthetic with exposed brick, concrete waffle slabs, steel girders and polished concrete floors.

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