As part of the multi-phased $38 million New Brunswick, New Jersey, French Street Redevelopment, the 9-story French Street Medical Arts Building, developed by AST Development Corporation of Lavallette, New Jersey became an important element in improving the quality of life of residents by making the area more attractive, offering services and providing jobs. The French Street neighborhood is the target area for the city's Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP). The NPP offers services including housing rehabilitation grants, community cleanup projects, public infrastructure improvements and enhanced code enforcement.
To achieve the improvement goals of the NPP, the project team, the architect set out to develop a quality structure that would be erected quickly and built in a cost effective manner. Together, the team found the use of precast concrete for the building façade was the best solution to meet the design, scheduling, and cost benefit needs of the client and community. Precast concrete was supplied by Architectural Precast Innovations (API).
Precast Instrumental in Achieving Aesthetic Design
The use of precast played an instrumental role in achieving an aesthetic design while also limiting costs and construction time. Largely, the building’s precast façade comprises of a banded and arched architectural design containing multiple surfaces, which creates a mid-height roof at the 6th floor. The large windows allude to open spaces within the structure and the precast on the lower floors contains score lines to imitate stone construction including arches and even keystones. The use of precast in this feature benefited the client by keeping costs lower than the alternative of stone. To keep the design and construction on schedule, Pennoni provided additional design of tubular outriggers which extended from the inside corner columns to support the precast while leaving the floor slab unaffected. In all, the façade is comprised of 301 pieces totaling 31,000 square feet of precast. Because the use of precast lends to a speedy construction schedule, the French Street Medical Arts Building was able to be fully erected in two weeks.
The use of precast has many advantages due to its strength and timely delivery. Precast is well suited for many projects. Particularly, on the French Street Medical Arts building, the use of precast met or exceeded the design and building performance objectives. By using precast materials, the design and construction team helped to bring change to a neighborhood that needed a facelift and economic improvements.
As part of the overall French Street Redevelopment, which won the New Jersey Business & Industry Association’s “Good Neighbor Award”, the French Street Medical Arts building has brought visual appeal, medical services, and new management, medical and technology jobs to the area. The use of a precast solution for the French Street Medical Arts Building clearly demonstrates how clients and communities benefit through cost effective materials, a quick erection timetable and an aesthetically pleasing finished product.