public_jacksonvilleLocated in the heart of downtown Jacksonville, Florida, this $95 million building provides the city with a “classically inspired”, highly efficient state of the art facility accommodating the city’s evolving cultural and civic needs. The building consists of five floors and contains over 320,000 square feet of space. The design worked around the existing Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)  which is located in the northwest corner of the project site

Architectural requirements dictated that the new building triple the size of the city’s previous library to accommodate over two million books in addition to providing a 400-seat auditorium, 5,000 square foot multi-purpose room, elevated garden terrace, and other public facilities.

The classical architectural style on the exterior of the building encloses a modern facility that makes great use of the traditional flexibility and reliability of concrete, as well as the material’s advanced structural systems, to accomplish demanding open space requirements in a very heavily loaded building.

public_jacksonville_modelThe Library’s overall program required the structure to accommodate extremely heavy live loads of 150 pounds per square foot. These loads had to be carried over the 32-foot clear spans. After exhaustive studies performed on the superstructure by DESIMOME Consulting Engineers, Inc., the design team settled on a flat-slab system with drop panels, as it provided the cleanest and most economical solution for the architectural requirements

The flat-slab system transfers the loads to reinforced concrete columns and shear walls, which are supported on the building’s spread footing foundation. Support of the slab loads was accomplished using a 10.5-inch slab with 5.5-inch drop panels. Spandrel beams were located along the building perimeter to stiffen the slab edge to support the pre-cast façade panel loads.

Also, in order to create the column-free space required for open spaces at the theater and meeting rooms located at the first floor level, the structural design considered not only the span distances but the transfer of several column loads per beam from the upper floor levels to shear walls located below. The column loads were transferred using post-tensioned girders which measured approximately five feet by eight feet deep and spanned lengths over 80 feet to provide column free space in the theater and meeting rooms.

public_jacksonville_theater   public_jacksonville_beams 
Theater under construction. Transfer beams over theater.

The Lateral Force Resisting System relies on interaction between shear-walls and frame-action to resist wind forces. The frame action is provided by the monolithic behavior between columns, drop panels, flat slab panels and spandrel beams. The shear walls are distributed throughout the building and are typically 12-inches thick and utilize 5,000 psi concrete.

Precast concrete panels with 16-inch thickness were placed around the building’s entire façade. To support this ornate system; the spandrel beam was modified so that wedge inserts were located at the attachment points for the pre-cast pieces.

More construction photos of project:


public_jacksonville_floor   public_jacksonville_entry


Owner: Better Jacksonville Plan

Construction Manager:
Auchter/Elkins/Lodestar/Parris JV, Jacksonville, Florida

Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York, New York
Rolland, Delvalle & Bradley, Jacksonville, Florida

Structural Engineer:
DESIMONE Consulting Engineers, Inc., Miami, Florida

Concrete Sub-Contactor (Superstructure):
SB Ballard Construction Corp., Virginia Beach, Virginia

Concrete Sub-Contractor (Foundation):  
SB Ballard Construction Corp., Virginia Beach, Virginia

Concrete Subcontractor (Pre-cast):
Gate Concrete Products, Jacksonville, Florida

Testing Lab:

Cement Supplier:
Atlantic Cement Co., Coeymans, New York

Ready-Mixed Supplier:
Bonded Concrete, Watervliet, New York