During its parking crisis of the mid 1990’s, the City of Boulder decided to construct a 700-car, eight story parking structure on a 30,000 sf site on the east end of Pearl Street Mall. The design wrapped the 8-story (2 stories underground and 6 stories above) structure with retail at the street level on all three sidewalk sides and office space above. In this way, the parking structure was almost completely hidden from pedestrians.
The building mass completely encompassed the site measuring 300’ from lot line to lot line. It was decided to break up the facade to create a similar scale to the pedestrian mall. Architect, RNL created a concept of five distinct volumes all tied together, yet each with its own unique and individual look.
The challenges associated with creating five buildings with various foundation systems and fire ratings created significant challenges in constructability. The cast-in-place structure was separated from the office and retail buildings by a 4-hour separation wall.
With the largest footprint and mass of any building in the downtown district, this project, with its tiny site, would present considerable logistics challeges. The zero lot line construction required complete shoring and underpinning 28’ deep for the two levels of below grade parking. With no site staging/storage areas, hourly delivery schedules meant materials had to be taken directly from trucks to installation.
This effort was further hampered by ground water at 16’ requiring an extensive dewatering system operating 24/7.
In addition to the site challenges, this project would be constructed on an extremely fast track with a very tight budget. Extremely tight subcontractor coordination and sequencing was necessary to meet the 13-month schedule.
Safety was a great concern as there were so many workers in a relatively confined space. Public safety was also paramount due to the large amount of vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic along Pearl Street. That challenge, coupled with maintaining traffic flow in both directions, required coordination with the city and extensive use of flagmen, barricades and the like to assure the job’s productivity was maintained without sacrificing the safety of the public.
Pinkard finished ahead of schedule.
International Parking Institute’s International Award of Excellence winner