John W. Olver Design Building, University of Massachusetts, USA
In September 2017, the Design Building at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst was completed. The $52 million project is one of the largest timber structures in the USA and one of the largest timber-concrete composite projects in the world.
University of Massachusetts Building Authority,
Boston, MA, USA
Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects
Boston, MA, USA
Equilibrium Consulting Inc.
Vancouver, BC, Canada
The four-story university building with a floor area of 87,500 ft² includes three schools on the premises of UMass Amherst with offices, studios, lecture halls, and laboratories.
Structure and Design
The building is largely exposed and consists of 5-ply CLT concrete composite floor panels supported by a glulam post and beam structure.
The engineers of Equilibrium Consulting Inc. modeled and analyzed two main building components utilizing RFEM, including the “zipper trusses” with adjacent steel trusses as well as the timber-concrete composite section trusses.
Each zipper truss converges four 9‑inch diameter timber struts and four varying diameter steel bars at a single point to transfer the load back to the upper glulam beams. The 12‑foot-wide trusses vary in span length from 35 feet to 60 feet along with a depth varying between 7 feet and 9 feet.
For the timber-concrete composite section truss design, multiple steel connectors were modeled along the truss length to initiate the composite action between the concrete deck and the glulam timber beam. The timber-concrete composite section truss clear span extends a total length of 25 feet.
The Design Building sets a new standard of quality and performance for institutional timber construction in the USA and demonstrates how state-of-the-art timber construction can meet the demanding performance requirements of large, post-secondary educational facilities.
Do you have questions or need advice?
Contact our free e-mail, chat, or forum support or find various suggested solutions and useful tips on our FAQ page.
The calculation of complex structures by means of finite element analysis software is generally performed on the entire model. However, the construction of such structures is a process carried out in multiple stages where the final state of the building is achieved by combining the separate structural parts. To avoid errors in the calculation of overall models, the influence of the construction process must be considered. In RFEM 6, this is possible by using the Construction Stages Analysis (CSA) add-on.
3D Models in RFEM: "Zipper Trusses" with Adjacent Steel Trusses (Top) and Timber-Concrete Composite Section Trusses with Modeled Steel Connectors (Bottom) (© Equilibrium Consulting Inc.)
Compared to the RF-/STEEL EC3 add-on module (RFEM 5/RSTAB 8), the following new features have been added to the Steel Design add-on for RFEM 6 / RSTAB 9:
- In addition to Eurocode 3, other international standards are integrated (e.g. AISC 360, CSA S16, GB 50017, SP 16.13330)
- Consideration of hot-dip galvanizing (DASt guideline 027) in the fire protection design according to EN 1993-1-2
- Input option for transverse stiffeners that can be taken into account in the shear buckling analysis
- Lateral-torsional buckling can also be checked for hollow sections (e.g. relevant for slender, high rectangular hollow sections)
- Automatic detection of members or member sets valid for the design (e.g. automatic deactivation of members with invalid material or members already contained in a set of members)
- Design settings can be adjusted individually for each member
- Graphical display of the results in the gross section or the effective section
- Output of the used design check formulas (including a reference to the used equation from the standard)
- How can I optimize cross-sections within the steel design?
- Where can I find the materials for the corresponding National Annexes in RFEM 6 and RSTAB 9?
- How do I apply wind load on members of open structures?
- Is it also possible to use RF‑/TOWER Loading without the other TOWER add-on modules?
- I do not want to design a cross-section in the RF‑/STEEL EC3 add-on module. Can I quickly remove this cross-section from the selection?
- I have a roof structure resting on a steel column that runs to the foundations. The column runs through a perimeter wall that supports the false ceiling. A considerable part of the load from the roof is transferred to the wall. I want the steel column to carry all the vertical loads from the roof. How can I do it?
- Are the models and presentations from Info Day 2018 freely available, and can you send them to me?
- I encountered a sharing violation while importing a dxf file into SHAPE-THIN. What is the issue?
- How can I display membrane stresses in the results of RF‑STEEL Surfaces?
- How does the "Orthotropic Plastic" material model work in RFEM?
Programs Used for Structural Analysis
Structural engineering software for finite element analysis (FEA) of planar and spatial structural systems consisting of plates, walls, shells, members (beams), solids and contact elements