Block 185 Office Tower

Block 185 Office Tower | Austin, Texas

They say that everything is bigger in Texas y’all. As if to illustrate the point, DPR is building a project in downtown Austin that literally takes “big” to new heights. The new 35-story, 590-foot-tall Green Water Block 185 project represents the largest vertical high-rise concrete structure that DPR has ever built including its largest self-perform concrete project to date.

Partners

Unique Design

On The Lake

Totaling approximately 1.56 million gross-sq.-ft. and including nearly 800,000 sq. ft. of office space, the iconic tower features a striking sail-like curtainwall design capitalizing on views of nearby Lady Bird Lake. Also included in the project: a 1,411-stall parking structure spanning five levels below grade and seven above; ground floor lobby, creek-side tenant amenity and retail space and a large boardwalk. Multiple outdoor roof areas and terraces maximize lake and city views from every angle of the building, which is targeting LEED Gold.

The challenges of constructing Block 185 are Texas-sized too. The complex geometry and radiused components that make up the building’s structure and curtainwall “sail” have continuously tested the skills of the team charged with calculating their many dimensions. It is an epic modeling challenge and coordination effort that has allowed DPR’s operational excellence and virtual design and construction (VDC) capabilities to shine.

The building topped out in July 2021, with substantial completion planned for May of 2022.

The

Challenges

Constructing the largest self-perform concrete project in DPR history comes with immense challenges. Aided by two giant luffing cranes, crews are erecting the structure using a self-climbing core wall forming system. Extensive planning and cycle scheduling detailed to the hour for deck pours, have been essential to maintain the critical schedule, which includes liquidated damages if not met.

Photo: Aided by two giant luffing cranes, crews are erecting the structure using a self-climbing core wall forming system.

Another key hurdle has been preventing water intrusion from the adjacent lake and creek all while working in busy downtown Austin. The team’s solution – constructing a massive six-level, 70-ft.-deep diaphragm wall – was a complex endeavor itself. The wall is socketed 10 feet below the mat foundation and encompasses the entire perimeter of the building serving as the below grade foundation wall. Its construction allowed crews to avoid water intrusion issues during the below grade work.

Photo: One hurdle has been preventing water intrusion from the adjacent lake and creek all while working in busy downtown Austin.

After excavating 145,000 cubic yards of dirt from the site and following nearly nine months of detailed planning and coordination, DPR crews successfully completed the single largest mat pour in DPR’s history.. A symphony of nearly 900 cement mixers continuously poured approximately 8,650 yards of concrete over the span of a single 36-hours period without a single safety or quality incident.

While there are many challenges still to come on this multi-year project, key early milestones are early indicators that this project is headed for a Texas size success.

Photo: After excavating 145,000 cubic yards of dirt from the site and following nearly nine months of detailed planning and coordination, DPR crews successfully completed the single largest mat pour in DPR’s history.

“From top to bottom, the team has embraced VDC tools on every aspect of the work. We intentionally focused on being a leader in the use of VDC for self-perform concrete to improve communication, plan production and ensure we hit our targets.”

Jacob Skrobarczyk

DPR VDC lead

Austin's Skyline Superstar

Photos courtesy of DPR Construction

Photos courtesy of DPR Construction

Photos courtesy of DPR Construction

The

Solutions

A VDC-enabled workforce, from our SPW teams to PEs to Superintendents, has incorporated a high level of building information modeling into virtually every aspect of the project. This includes detailed modeling to coordinate and construct the exterior curtainwall to the skilled, best-in-class SPW concrete team using VDC and 4-D scheduling to plan and execute what is arguably the most complex and single biggest self-perform concrete project that DPR has undertaken.

Photo: The team used VDC and 4-D scheduling to plan and execute what is arguably the most complex and single biggest self-perform concrete project that DPR has undertaken.

Employing a diaphragm wall to de-risk the site was another unique solution DPR brought to the table, differentiating this project from neighboring jobs that similarly battled water intrusion issues using more traditional approaches. DPR drew upon its national resources and expertise from other regions to successfully complete the wall.

Photo: Employing a diaphragm wall to de-risk the site was another unique solution DPR brought to the table.

Finally, building a high performing team from the start that is focused on meeting the owner’s expectations for schedule, quality and cost has been a fundamental solution on this project. That has included leveraging DPR’s SPW concrete crews and self-perform teams that successfully delivered other local Austin projects including Third and Shoal and the Marriott Austin projects.

Photo: Building a high performing team from the start that is focused on meeting the owner’s expectations for schedule, quality and cost has been a fundamental solution on this project.

The

Results

“It’s been a pleasure really just working with DPR, and their attitude day to day – it’s all about the team and the people. To take a project and not put it out to the market, and just sole source it to a company, the biggest project you’ve ever done, it says a lot about their ability and the comfort level that I have with them.”

Mark Fowler

Senior Vice President | Trammell Crow - Block 185 Project Owner

View From Above: Block 185 Crown Install

A process that began planning over a year before the first day of install, Austin’s newest landmark, Block 185, completed the crown structure cantilevering 93 feet above the roof. The 35-story office tower’s unique sail design is DPR Construction’s largest self-perform concrete project to date and will be an iconic addition to the downtown skyline for years to come.

Building an Austin Icon: Block 185

Bringing an icon like Block 185 up from the ground is no small feat. Partnering with Trammell Crow Company, DPR Construction is proud to continue shaping the downtown Austin skyline with this exciting project poised to be a visual landmark for years to come.

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