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Coda at Technology Square Office Tower

Coda at Technology Square Office Tower | Atlanta, Georgia

Coda is a 21-story office tower with 5-floors of underground parking. Georgia Tech serves as the anchor office tenant—taking approximately half of the project with a long-term lease—housing academic and leading-edge research programs in computing and advanced big data analytics. The remaining space is available for corporate entities and partners, fostering collaboration with private industry through interdisciplinary research “neighborhoods.”

Project Details

The project includes a high-performance computing (HPC) data center which will engage new corporate partners, faculty with research interests in modeling and simulation, network, computer, and infrastructure providers, sensor network providers, and students and entrepreneurs from young start-up companies. This eclectic group of hosted companies and programs will constitute a new social model of the “research to commercial” path. This center will model the best practices of these concepts.

The urban streetscape and ground-floor retail space are an extension of the highly energetic “main street” feel of Technology Square. Designed to inspire, the building facilitates a sustainable, innovative ecosystem that integrates the existing assets of Technology Square with new opportunities in interdisciplinary research, economic development, commercialization, and sustainability. Green features include waste heat recovery, rainwater harvesting, and a smart grid for utility infrastructure.

The project was recognized by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) with a 2019 Project Achievement Award as well as the CMAA South Atlantic Chapter's Annual Board Choice Award.

Problem Solving and Complex Features

Evolving Design: When DPR was brought on board during the design development stage, the project already had a fixed budget and architectural design excellence expectations. One particular challenge was a 330,000-sq.-ft. curtainwall system which was 30% over budget. After estimating the cost drivers in the curtainwall systems, DPR was able to implement a design-assist approach to bring on a trade partner to engineer and manufacture cost-effective details and profiles. Leveraging national relationships, DPR solicited bids and selected a subcontractor in eight weeks. Ultimately, the selection saved $11 million.

Site conditions: Initial surveys of the project site indicated the water table was just 11’ below grade. The below-grade parking deck required excavation to 55’ below grade. DPR and its subcontractors developed a perimeter wellpoint system to draw down the water table locally and allow for excavation to occur.

The Portal: One of the most complex design features, the Portal, required six 800 KIP shoring towers at each of the hanging columns to support the structure while compression struts were installed.

MEP Complexity: Coda’s mechanical design incorporates a chilled beam conditioning system rather than a typical forced-air system. The amount of piping required to operate the chilled beams engendered conflicts with the installation of all other overhead equipment, conduit, and ductwork. Through extensive BIM modeling efforts, nearly all conflicts were identified and resolved prior to installing any work in the field.

Elevators: The first installation of Thyssen Krupp’s TWIN Elevators in North America meant that the existing elevator code did not have provisions or a framework for the safe operation. DPR, Thyssen Krupp, and the design team worked directly with City and State officials to rework the elevator code to allow for the TWIN installation and to pioneer a two-level fire recall system.

Ground Water: The immense groundwater found onsite was one of the major challenges faced by the project team. The addition of an Aquanomix groundwater purification system allowed the owner to reclaim water for the building’s cooling towers rather than being pumped into the city’s storm system.

Green Features

The building has multiple unique sustainability features including chilled beams, twin stack elevators and is targeted for LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Other green features include waste heat recovery, rainwater harvesting, and smart grid for utility infrastructure.

Virtual Design and Construction

3D modeling was used to help with coordination of the building’s complex MEP avoiding conflicts that could have happened without the use of the model. A fully developed 3D BIM model was critical to the timely completion of the project. DPR worked together with our trade partners and design team to develop a complete model to fabricate and build from. The conflicts identified and resolved through the BIM modeling process saved countless hours and days of installation in the field.