Library of Congress National A-V Conservation Center wins top award for Mid-Atlantic Region.
Vanderweil Engineers designed the building systems (which required state-of-the-art temperature control and fire protection systems) for the Library of Congress National A-V Conservation Center, which won “Overall Project of the Year” and “Institutional Project of the Year” from Mid-Atlantic Construction magazine in its Best of 2007 awards program.
In addition, the Phoenix at Clarendon Metro in Arlington, VA, won “Mixed-Use Project of the Year.” A third Vanderweil project, the U.S. Pharmacopeia headquarters consolidation in Rockville, MD, won an Award of Merit in the Institutional category. Vanderweil Engineers provided mechanical/electrical and plumbing engineering for both projects.
The design of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, which now houses the world’s largest collection of moving images and sound recordings, involved a complex adaptive reuse of a former Federal Reserve Cold War bunker. Protection of the six million items requires a constant 50°F 35% rh in the repositories, with the exception of the storage vaults for pre-1951 cellulose nitrate film, which is highly combustible. These vaults are kept at a constant 39° -10.0 grains of moisture, and the motion picture storage is kept at 25° 35% rh.
The 415,000-sq-ft complex, which was designed by SmithGroup, involved extensive renovations to the existing structure as well as the construction of a 271,000-sq-ft addition. The facility includes the storage and preservation center, a visitor center, a teaching-conservation laboratory, four theaters, and a recorded sound laboratory with 12 sound- and vibration-proof chambers.
“The project involved highly specialized mechanical and electrical systems,” Mid-Atlantic Construction noted. “One particular challenge on the central plant work was the installation of nine large air handlers, which had to be strategically placed in a long, narrow building that offered little access room.”
The jury also noted the challenge of the nitrate film storage vaults: “The high-tech vaults are designed to provide multiple layers of protection for their contents against fire, smoke, and heat, including a damper system designed to withstand temperatures up to 2,500°.
The Phoenix at Clarendon Metro features 181 units of luxury apartments, 65,000 sq ft of office space, and 20,000 sq ft of retail space. A highlight of the mixed-use development is the incorporation of a historic 1930s-era Arlington Main Post Office. The complex was designed by Dorsky Hodgson Parrish Yue.
The fast-track consolidation of the U.S. Pharmacopeia headquarters, designed by HOK, involved the construction of nearly 172,000 sq ft of laboratory and office space.
Vanderweil Engineers earns multiple awards for building engineering
July 1, 2008