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.
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The three types of moment frames (Ordinary, Intermediate, Special) are available in the Steel Design add-on of RFEM 6. The seismic design result according to AISC 341-16 is categorized into two sections: member requirements and connection requirements.
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.)
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