Project of the Year Finalist/Best Small Project (Under $10 million): SugarSquare
Best Project and Project Of The Year Finalist
Owner: Urban Villages
Lead Design Firm: Semple Brown Design
General Contractor: Jordy Construction
Structural/Civil Engineer: Vertex McGlamery Inc.
MEP Engineer: MKK Consulting Engineers Inc.
SugarSquare is a four-story, 11,400-sq-ft building in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood. It was conceived as an addition to the historic Sugar Building at 16th and Wazee streets, but it was constructed as its own distinct building—one that’s just 25 ft wide.
Working between the 100-year-old Sugar Building and the 130-year-old Spice Building created complex challenges. The 25-ft by 125-ft lot didn’t allow for laydown space. Every piece of material that came to the site had to be planned and timed down to the minute because there was no option to shut down two-lane Wazee Street for construction traffic. Also, work had to be carefully scheduled around residential quiet hours as well as moratoriums for downtown holidays and Colorado Rockies home games.
Space constraints also meant the construction team had to take the unusual approach of building the structure from back to front, instead of bottom up. This method, referred to as “wedding cake style,” was driven by the positioning and reach of the crane. The back wall and alley walls went up first, and then crews worked their way out toward the street. This method required creative bracing and innovative design to ensure that partial floors would hold up while construction took place on other pieces. Despite the challenges, actual ground-up steel and concrete erection was completed in just 30 days.
Each floor of SugarSquare had to connect to the corresponding floor in the Sugar Building. To achieve this, crews cut “portals” through the existing brick exterior walls, adding steel lintels above the openings to serve as support and maintaining the exposed brick along the shared wall. Upper-level portals used existing window openings to connect the buildings. On the fourth floor, large panes of thick, fire-resistant glass windows bring in ample natural light and city views for tenants.
The all-glass and steel building also features a green roof and amenity deck with views of downtown Denver and the mountains.