San Diego New Central Library

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Morley Construction Company, Santa Monica, CA

The structure employs an architectural cast-in-place concrete Special Moment Resisting Frame (SMRF). SMRF columns and beams resist shear forces within the structure (eliminating the need for shear walls) and are joined with 2-way joist & beam conventionally reinforced "waffle" slab floor plates. Typical SMRF columns are 30 in x 75 in, 48 in x 75 in, and 75 in x 75 in, but can be as large as 88 in x 75 in. In total, the building utilizes over 43,000 cubic yards of structural and architectural concrete.

Challenges included mass concreting, unprecedented architectural concrete aesthetic program requirements, one-of-a-kind components such as the Gravity Arch supported main lobby & custom roof structures supporting the Reading Room Roof and Special Events Roof.

All concrete above grade is designated to be fair-faced, as-cast utilizing Type Ill CPC Colton/Mojave architectural cement. Through discussions with Architect Rob Quigley, FAIA, Morley determined the priorities for architectural concrete to maintain consistency of color without mottling, paste loss, or "coffee stains" - [color trumps all] to be free of sheen - all concrete should have a flat/matte finish, gloss is undesirable

Plywood is to be sized to human scale with no sheets larger than 4x4 or 3x6 and oriented randomly to create a "quilted" or "collage" effect. Plywood should vary in size proportional to the application (i.e.: a column can use a different layout than the walls and should column face to column face so that no two sides are alike to provide minimal read of plywood grain, "footballs", and other surface imperfections. While smooth architectural plywood is to be used, variations of planar surfaces and slight gaps in plywood butting were desirable. Re-sheeting forms should be avoided with the face sheeting degrading only slightly over many reuses. Slight weathering of the forms is acceptable, even desirable. The structure should look 3 years old from opening day.

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