Award of Excellence: High-Rise
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Wilson Hall Structural Modifications
Submitted by Sika Corporation
Department of Energy—Fermilab
Rubinos Mesia Engineers of Chicago
Lyndhurst, New Jersey
Fermilab, a Department of Energy National Laboratory, was custom-built by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1967. Founding Director Robert R. Wilson's main objective in creating the facility was to provide a place of beauty, equal opportunity and scientific excellence where scientists and researchers could conduct research in
high-energy physics and related disciplines.
The building that houses the administrative offices, the lab's center of activity, is named for the founding Director. Wilson Hall is a 16-story, concrete framed, post-tensioned concrete building. The building consists of two symmetrical concrete towers tied together by post-tensioned concrete beams at the seventh through sixteenth floors on the north end of the building. Post-tensioned crossover beams fasten the south end of the building on the second through fifth floors, and post-tensioned waffle slabs fasten the south end on the thirteenth through sixteenth floors.
Thermal changes were creating deterioration in the beam-ends and slab-ends that formed the dead end joint created by the post-tensioned connections. The exterior of the building was spalling due to insufficient cover of concrete over the reinforcing steel. The plaza in front of the main entrance also developed cracks and the waterproofing system failed.
The repair consisted of structural modifications to the west joint of the post-tensioned crossover beams at the seventh through sixteenth floors on the north end, and at the thirteenth through sixteenth floors on the south end. The exterior rehabilitation consisted of architectural spall repair to the exterior façade, installing a waterproofing membrane on balconies, and sealing the exterior façade with a clear anti-carbonation coating.
The work began in late 1999, and was completed in October 2001. All interior work was performed at night so that the building could be occupied during the day and business would be uninterrupted.
Fermi operates a public website and a web cam was used to record the repairs and provide updates on the progress.