Hotel ZaZa/Gables Republic Square is a 24 story mixed-use boutique hotel/urban residential tower, with street-level retail located on a .75 acre site in downtown Austin. Our scope of work included the supply and installation of the masonry on this project. The scope included king size 750,000 field brick, 135,000 CMU, over 600 pieces of oversized GFRC with cast stone worked into the design as caps, sills, and inset panels.
The project site is bordered by 3 busy city streets and one alleyway. Material and equipment deliveries were only allowed via a street closure that provided one single lane entry into the site and one exit for all trades working on the project. Since the design of this building included 3-D effects that encompass all 4 sides it is not simple design. Without a place to store materials onsite, coordinating, tracking and scheduling of materials and equipment had to be planned out well in advance.
Large GFRC Panels are installed in many areas on level 1 and mixed in through level 7. The design incorporated numerous different profiles throughout the building, many of which became focal points. The GFRC cladding on this used a multitude of attachments methods, some of which had to be revised as the building was going up to facilitate reduce wait time and come backs for surrounding materials to be installed. The limited access site created additional challenges when installing the large GFRC panels. With work over 300’ in the air loading and access was always an issue. The north side of building was separated from existing structures by a narrow alleyway. The existing structures included a high-rise condominium building (with balconies that extend into the alleyway so far that you felt like you could touch them as you went up the building) and commercial businesses that use the alleyway for deliveries and waste disposal in the alley dumpsters. To minimize disruption to the residents of the condominium and businesses we were unable to shut down the alleyway for more than a couple of hours and had to follow scheduled times. In addition, while working above the alleyway, we assigned workers to continually look out for and direct, pedestrians and vehicles in the alleyway.
To access the structure, we had to utilize a multitude of access methods from conventional scaffolding, tube scaffolding with putlogs to allow construction access, mast climbers, 4-point suspended scaffolding systems, swing stages, manlifts, various sized forklifts, and a dance floor. In order to do the pilaster work between the units above level seven we had to span the balconies with scaffolding independently of each floor to finish off the brickwork.
One of the interesting design elements of the new building is the incorporation of salvaged bricks from the Ginger Man Pub that originally stood on the site. The pub was torn down in 2014 and the bricks were stored offsite for several years. We culled through and palletized all the material and then reused it on the street entrance to the hotel’s Perfect Strangers lounge. The brick was laid to mimic the original pub’s front façade and was surrounded by a black accent brick to infill the rest of the area.
The fast-paced project required a large crew and a significant amount of internal and project team coordination and effort to complete it. The harmonious blend of brick combined with GFRC and cast stone on this project sets it apart from the typical glass buildings that surround it and is sure to draw attention to changing downtown Austin landscape.