Andy Quattlebaum Outdoor Recreation Center at Clemson University
Owner: Clemson University
Lead Design Firm: Cooper Carry
Contractor: Sherman Construction
Structural Engineer: Britt Peters + Associates
MEP Engineer: RMF Engineering
The 16,000-sq-ft recreation center is a milestone in mass timber construction, marking the first such structure east of the Mississippi River with floors, roof slabs and shear walls made of cross-laminated southern yellow pine. A unique structural design combining glue-laminated timber beams and steel columns allowed for more expansive interior spaces and fewer secondary joists and support elements, substantially reducing construction costs. The exposed wood structure also eliminated the need for ceilings and integrated lighting.
In addition, the extensive use of timber facilitated offsite prefabrication that helped ensure component quality and assembly, minimized laydown space needs and provided improved safety for workers; there were zero recordable incidents or lost-time injuries during the 18-month construction phase. Virtually unaffected by weather issues, prefabrication also helped keep construction on schedule.
With most of the interior wood structure left exposed—as designed by Cooper Carry—preconstruction coordination was critical to ensuring that building utility systems were primarily located within the limited overhead space. Exposed fire protection, piping and electrical conduit were precisely located and painted to match the aesthetic of the interior steel elements. To help position the building for future net-zero energy operations, the project team performed detailed analysis and refinement of the footprint orientation, overhangs, wall composition and mechanical system designs. Provisions were also made for the future installation of rooftop photovoltaic panels, which will allow the building to be energy self-sufficient.
Completed in November 2019, the center provides space for Clemson’s outdoor recreational services. Camping, biking and boating gear is on display for use by students. The facility also supports group trips, wellness seminars and classes, social events and training programs.