Proposed construction of the new museum consisted of demolition of the seventh and eighth floors of historic Terminal Refrigeration and Warehouse Company building, erected in the 1920’s. These floors were designed and reconstructed to provide gallery space for the museum, allowing for increased floor to ceiling heights. Both the rehabilitation of the existing structure and planned expansions posed several challenges for the client. In order to tackle these complexities, the architect selected F&R to be the Geotechnical Engineer of Record for the project.

Early in the design process, our team was faced with several geotechnical challenges that included high groundwater levels on site, an adjacent WMATA structure (i.e. potentially damaging vibrations), soft soil deposits, undocumented fill soil, and adjacent historic structures. F&R addressed these issues by developing and executing a detailed subsurface exploration, the analysis of which would guide the project from conceptual stages through final design. The existing foundations were analyzed to determine their suitability for the proposed retrofit and construction. Our team provided recommendations that enabled the architect to design feasible additions to the facility and still remain within budget.

Prior to construction, F&R provided a structural materials assessment of the building which included ground penetrating radar to identify reinforcing members in columns and slabs. Further testing of concrete cores, Windsor probe testing, and steel cup extraction and testing was conducted to ascertain material strengths.

During construction phases of the project, F&R’s team of engineers and inspectors returned to the site to provide monitoring of foundation piles and perform construction administration phase services.