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Going Big in Downtown Seattle
Rainier Square Tower will be occupied by residents of 200 luxury apartment units, guests of the 150-room hotel, customers of the 30,000 square feet of retail space and occupants of 722,000 square feet of office space.
Brundage-Bone helps give shape to the city’s second-largest building
STURTEVANT, WI (September 24, 2019) – Seattle is synonymous with its culture, nature and otherwise. The music, the technology, the mountain views — all of them unique, none of them available anywhere else. It’s only fitting that its signature architecture lives up to a similar standard. When the stakes were high, Brundage-Bone’s Washington branch turned to its reliable fleet of Putzmeister machines to make it happen.
Rainier Square Tower, a mixed-use skyscraper located in Seattle’s downtown district, is already considered an iconic touch point among the city’s skyline. At 850-feet tall, the 58-story building will become the second-tallest building in Seattle upon completion in 2020. Though it has the potential to dominate the city from a visual standpoint, it elects to cooperate and complement that which already exists. It lives up to the words of legendary architect and Seattle native Minoru Yamasaki, who designed the adjacent Rainier Tower more than 40 years ago: “A building must be like a human being. It must have a wholeness about it, something that is very important.”
Already famous for its sweeping shape that — depending on who you ask — resembles either a high-heeled shoe or a golf tee, Rainier Square Tower was a one-of-its-kind project that demanded an intelligent approach in all disciplines, including concrete. They included two BSA 14000 HP E electric-powered concrete pumps, a truck-mounted 56Z-Meter boom pump, and a truck-mounted 63Z-Meter boom pump.
“Putzmeister equipment is reliable,” said Brett Young, Equipment Allocation and Specialty Equipment Manager at Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping. “We had no issues while on the jobsite.”
Work on Rainier Square Tower began in September 2017 with Amazon initially announced as the sole lessee of the building’s 722,000 square feet of office space. Though plans would change as the tech giant elected to sublease the tower to other tenants, the shape and spirit of the design remained consistent. Instead of the usual high-rise core, which wraps steel around a rebar-reinforced concrete core, Rainier Square Tower instead went with a modular system of steel plates situated between concrete. A boundary system was used to give the core shape, and the cross-tiered plates were positioned in place and filled on site. For Brundage-Bone, who began work at the jobsite in September 2018, this resulted in a much more efficient process.
“The pour was much quicker than a typical building or concrete structure,” Young said. “For the core wall, there was no aggregate in the mix. There was also no rebar. We were able to pump concrete at over 100 yards an hour for the full height of the building.”
Because of the building’s massive size, the reach of its concrete pumping equipment had to be equally as robust: 900 vertical feet, 400 vertical feet.
“We went with it [BSA 14000 HP E electric-powered concrete pump] because it was reliable — there isn’t a high-pressure trailer pump that’s trusted at that elevation. It was also quieter than other available options, which meant we could adhere to the morning sound requirements near apartments and condos. It saved a lot of money, because it meant we didn’t have to utilize a night-time schedule.”
Time is of the essence
Not only did the alternate construction method help to give the superstructure its distinct size and shape, it also gave the project a surprising timeline: several months sooner than a comparable tower of its size.
“The speed was incredible,” Young said. “The pre-manufactured steel panels helped us work very fast — a typical building like this would take twice as long.”
In total, the building will require 130,000 cubic yards of concrete on a schedule of seven hours a day, four days a week. To stay on target with the project timeline, Brundage-Bone had to work efficiently in all aspects — including a novel approach that maximized concrete.
“Using Putzmeister valves helped us to save a considerable amount of material,” Young said. “They allowed us to clean out the whole slick line without wasting concrete. It was the first time anyone has been able to do that on a job site in the United States — a company in England, who uses the same Putzmeister valve — showed us how to do it. It saves contractors a lot of money, and it’s much more environmentally friendly than typical techniques.”
Rainier Square Tower topped out in August 2019 — a process that took only 10 months to construct everything from the basement to the roof.
Located at Union Street between 4th and 5th Avenues, Rainier Square Tower is positioned in a heavily trafficked area in a major American city. As a result, jobsite space became a challenge with which Brundage-Bone had to contend.
“Being in the heart of Seattle was one of the more interesting aspects of the job,” Young said. “Road closures made the job site even harder to get to — we didn’t have a lot of access.”
Luckily, Putzmeister’s 63Z-Meter Truck-Mounted Concrete Boom Pump gave them the advantage they needed. It was designed to combine an extended reach with precise maneuverability, which is ideal for confined workspaces. Likewise, the 56Z-Meter boom pump — also used on the Rainier Square Tower project, provides a big reach in a smaller footprint. Together, they helped Brundage-Bone work at a rapid pace.
“This job site was all about getting material to the building quickly,” Young said. “We had to maximize road use, and try to pour before afternoon traffic got going. We worked as fast as possible.”
Looking to the future
When Rainier Square Tower opens in 2020, it will serve as a gathering place at the center of the block that draws people in. It will be home to residents of the 200 luxury apartment units, guests of the 150-room hotel, customers of the 30,000 square feet of retail space, and occupants of 722,000 square feet of office space.
“We think it captures the spirit of the Northwest as one of the regions where new things happen, where exciting buildings come along every few decades,” said Greg Johnson, president of Wright Runstad & Company, the project’s developer.
For Young and Brundage-Bone, the project has become a feather in their cap.
“It’s been a very successful project so far for all parties, and the atmosphere is pretty great to work in,” Young said. “It’s been a good job.”
Owner/Developer: Wright Runstad & Company
General Contractor: Lease Crutcher Lewis
Ready Mixed Supplier: Stoneway concrete
Equipment Supplier: Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping
Equipment: Two BSA 14000 HP E electric-powered concrete pumps, a truck-mounted 56Z-Meter boom pump, and a truck-mounted 63Z-Meter boom pump