Update: Expansion Exoskeleton and Infrastructure

With the project’s Topping Out last month, the Expansion is no longer going UP, UP, UP or even out, out, out. The exterior walls are beginning to wrap the building, and the really fun stuff is starting to take place in, in, in. The time lapse video of construction shows how we’ve gone from scratching the dirt to scraping the sky, but from here on out a lot of the work will be done in places the public will never see. Keep checking the flickr set for behind-the-scenes shots of the Expansion’s innards.

Here‘s a sample the impressive things the construction team has accomplished since January:

The Expansion structure is complete!

As mentioned in March, thirteen hundred cubic yards of concrete were used to make up the columns and slabs that are the Expansion’s internal skeleton. From November to March, forming and placing the structure’s components were the bulk of the job’s on-site activities, and the topping out occurred right on schedule.

Major operating equipment arrived.

The museum’s three cooling towers, three chillers, dozen or so pumps for various types of “water,” boilers, the fire pump, and several jumbo air handling units have all arrived over the last several weeks and made their way into the rooms and spaces designated for each. Most of them had the thrill of being flown in to the building by the tower crane, which will continue to earn its keep for several more months despite the completion of the building’s structure.

All stairwells have been installed.

Steel stair pans (some of them double-wide) were welded in place, and the concrete treads have been poured. The project has four new stairwells for both circulation and safety. Some of us are just happy to finally be able to walk the jobsite without tackling a Donkey Kong maze of ladders and ropes.

May 2010 Expansion Update
Interior of the new paleontology hall!
It’s the size of a football field and two stories tall.
For a full set of photos of the progress on our expansion, check out this Flickr set.

The exterior walls are appearing… and changing.

The Expansion’s curtain wall design boasts a mix of metal panel, spandrel and vision glass, plaster and stone. Over the past weeks, though, the daily changes in color and material on the building’s exterior are a result of the underlayers of the wall systems as they go up: a horizontal stripe of steel stud framing, covered by a not-so-subtle Day-Glo yellow layer of sheathing boards (likely visible up to 30m underwater), and rolled on matte gray coating of sealant.

View From the Parking Garage
 The exterior walls are going up!�
For a full set of photos of the progress on our expansion, check out this Flickr set.

Other stuff that lights the lights, flushes the commodes, and cools the air.

Literally right behind the removal of shoring and scaffolding for each of the slabs, tradesmen began the work of running conduit and roughing in plumbing and hanging ducts and suspending pipes for sprinklers, drains, and water fountains – all the less glamorous infrastructure that will eventually reside above the ceilings and behind the walls in the Expansion. A tremendous amount of work goes into coordinating all this “stuff,” each piece of which is individually small but critical in the aggregate to making the museum building work. Also installed so far are the wall studs and door frames in the basement level of the Expansion, future home to what I like to call the 4 C’s: classes, campers, conferences, and creepy crawly creatures (in the live animal room). The Events and Education staffs are reportedly dancing in their offices as they plan for 2012 in the new wing!

May 2010 Expansion Update
The infrastructure is all coming together.
For a full set of photos of the progress on our expansion, check out this Flickr set.

As much of the work on the project turns inward, there is still plenty to keep an eye out for in the coming weeks as the exterior wall gets layered onto the building. Make a trip to the roof of the HMNS parking garage part of your next visit for a great view of work in progress.

March 2011
The new wing!
For a full set of photos of the progress on our expansion, check out this Flickr set.
This entry was posted in Science and tagged , , , by Susanna. Bookmark the permalink.

About Susanna

Susanna joined the HMNS Expansion project team in October 2009 as the museum’s representative during construction of the new wing, which is scheduled for completion in 2012. When she’s not laughing her head off at the comic stylings of the HMNS Building department (while trying to get some work done) Susanna is also principal of The Sarrazin Group, a real estate investment and management company, and is pursuing her MBA through the weekend program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Follow the progress of the HMNS Expansion project through her monthly updates, which she hopes will make her as big an internet star as Zac.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>