Project: University of Houston Downtown College of Sciences and Technology
The University of Houston Downtown - College of Sciences & Technology building is a four story, 105,000 sq. ft. building that includes many energy-saving design and sustainable features which led to LEED Gold certification upon completion of the project. Camarata Masonry Systems, Ltd. (CMS) supplied and installed the exterior and interior masonry veneer walls.
The scope of work called for a combination of seven various types of bricks with the majority of the blending occurring on the ground level. The ground level utilized Forterra V225 rocked modular brick and had multiple alternating protruding bands with AMX brown mortar. The bands are visible on the perimeter only and consist of Forterra’s V240, V318, & V500 rocked modular bricks. At two locations, the exterior veneer wall continues into the main entryways, one of which becomes a student café. The exterior veneer walls on the tower also continue into the interior and wrap around columns on levels 2 through 4. The façade of the tower utilized Forterra V170 with protruding V120 velour modular brick bands and AMX light red mortar. Dissimilar to the noticeable perimetric brick bands found at the ground level, the protruding brick band for the façade is located either above and/or next to the numerous offset windows. This provides a visual juxtaposition on both the north and south elevations. The stairwell located on the northeast of the building utilized V225 smooth modular brick with AMX light tan mortar and 8” Cream Split face CMU were used to create a small “food truck enclosure” using 8” Cream Split face CMU with AMX white mortar.
CMS provided scaffolding access to the building skin on all four elevations for three months from level one to the top of the parapet with exclusion of the penthouse. Initially, the proposed phasing plan for masonry would have extended the duration of the scaffolding and equipment due to an assumption that the building would be built in vertical sections. Although this could have worked for some trades, it was impractical for the masonry since a brick veneer is efficiently built in a horizontal fashion. CMS provided a solution that benefited all crafts. A massive amount of scaffolding was provided to allow access for all trades to complete their work on multiple levels while minimizing the need to constantly move work area planking on the north and south elevations. The initial plan was to have only two to three levels fully planked per elevation with a dedicated crew to move planks for other trades; working from the bottom to the top. However, CMS was able to shorten the schedule by having almost the entire scaffolding system decked. This provided flexibility for multiple trade access while allowing the masonry work to proceed in an uninterrupted horizontal flow. Since the north and south elevations contained the most masonry they were prioritized. In addition to welded tubular frame scaffolding, CMS utilized multiple independent swing stage systems on the east and west elevations thus enabling the simultaneous installation of the glazing and metal panels.