Photo courtesy of GSB, Inc. Architects & Planners
Sometimes a building is symbolic of important progress in a community. That’s the case with the Ellison Hotel in Oklahoma City.
Honoring late author Ralph Ellison, the 75,000-square-foot boutique hotel features community spaces for showcasing local artists, hosting forums on race and social issues, and a library of local literature. It also includes a restaurant, 7,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and a rooftop pool and bar. The eclectic mix of uses required an equally eclectic combination of steel building systems to support the hotel’s various functions. New Millennium Building Systems supplied standard joists, standard composite deck, deep-ribbed composite floor deck, dovetail composite floor deck and steel roof deck.
The Ellison is one of Marriot International’s Tribute Portfolio Hotels designed to provide “spaces that bring people together and experiences that connect you to the surrounding community.” In Oklahoma City, that means honoring the legacy of Ralph Ellison, who earned international acclaim with his book “Invisible Man,” a novel that tackles the social issues confronting African Americans in the early 20th Century. Those themes will continue to be explored in the hotel’s various spaces.
With a striking address at street elevation, the hotel cantilevers in an angled façade. The contemporary aesthetic captures the spirit of the unique series of hotels. The distinctive surface skins a progressive approach to the structural system as well. Steel building systems replace traditional wood framing and its inherent flaws. Composite design is less susceptible to damage caused by fire, water and insects. Dually, design in steel leads to larger spans with thinner floor plates without compromising acoustics.
“The Ellison Hotel integrates almost everything we do,” says Marty Williams, sales engineer at New Millennium. “It has Deep-Dek® Composite integrated with beams and columns for the panelized floors. It has field-installed, 2-inch Versa-Dek® that runs across the 6-foot width of the corridors. Standard composite floor deck combines with a conventional structural steel frame at the elevated common spaces like meeting rooms, lobbies, and the rooftop swimming pool and surrounding outdoor lounge. The front of the building features an angled design efficiently achieved using a steel frame with sloping members. Then we supplied the open-web steel joists and B deck for the roof over the guest rooms.”
Panelized deep-ribbed composite floor deck is ideal for mid- and high-rise hotels for several reasons. The panelized system assembles quickly, offers superior safety features and increases cost efficiency.
Helping meet a scheduled October 2021 opening, the panelized system was assembled efficiently and safely on the ground. This panel assembly method keeps more labor hours safely on the ground, helping to reduce workers’ compensation insurance costs.
The panels consist of a steel frame and 6.0 Deep-Dek profiles. The frame is made up of two parallel beams using “upset” steel channels with ledger angles fixed to their webs. These primary beams are tied together with a low-profile composite beam at the building perimeter and another steel beam to support the field-installed corridor deck.
Once the frame is assembled, Deep-Dek Composite deck profiles, spanning the length of two hotel rooms, are fixed to the projecting leg of the ledger angle. Speeding assembly, the Dek-Lok™ pneumatic-drive tool quickly creates folded side-lap connections. These side-lap crimps are critical to achieving the floor system’s composite strength. Once complete, the panels are stacked and ultimately crane lifted in place to awaiting multi-story columns. Workers then bolt the panels to the steel columns.
While the deep-ribbed composite floor deck features in the hotel’s guest rooms, the hotel corridors use a dovetail composite floor deck. In this case, Versa-Dek 2.0 Composite was specified. It is well-suited for the project.
When left exposed, the dovetail profile of the deck creates an attractive linear plank ceiling look. This feature was not used in the Ellison but is an efficient option. The cavities of the dovetail shape, meanwhile, conceal unsightly deck fasteners.
For the roof over the guest rooms, 1.5-inch type B roof deck sits on standard steel joists supported by the steel framing system. B deck is among the most flexible and versatile of roof decks. It is a high-performance, wide-rib structural roof deck that also is cost-efficient, providing a balance of strength and economy.
At the rooftop lounge area, standard composite floor deck on steel beams are used for the swimming pool and adjacent terrace. The design of this area has extensive framing and concrete to address the substantial loads of water-filled pool and hotel patrons. What results is a resort feeling of lightness and openness concealing the robust structural elements.
The Ellison is scheduled to open in October 2021, continuing the development of the Classen Curve area in northwest Oklahoma City. It is the culmination of more than five years of work. Michael Owens, founder and director of the Ralph Ellison Foundation, says the hotel will be an important way to reach people who are not familiar with Ellison and his legacy.
“Our vision as a foundation is to expand the work, the knowledge of Ellison to wider audiences,” Owens tells the Oklahoma Gazette. “When the board heard about this, they were so moved and so excited, and I will say that several of them were moved to tears.”
In high-rise hotel construction, the deep-ribbed composite panelization system streamlines MEP integration. When the assembled floor panels are bolted to the sides of the columns, they create a gap, or plenum, between the panels that is carried vertically through the entire structure. This vertical space can act as a chase-way for utilities servicing every floor. Any unused space is capped and topped with concrete.
“One of the unique features is the plenum,” Williams says. “If you think about that plenum, it would be the width of a column running the length of a room. You’re only going to use a portion of that. Areas that aren’t used for risers are decked and covered with concrete.”
Vertically lining up all of the building’s plumbing and utility chase-ways can accelerate construction and time to market, increase occupancy space and boost property value.
To take full advantage of the MEP chase-ways, architects should consult with suppliers early in a project’s design phase. New Millennium deck specialists often assist in building systems specification to simplify and expedite the delivery of more cost-efficient projects.
“Multi-story attains efficiency with carefully thought out adjacencies,” says Alex Therien, Market Development Manager at New Millennium. “Mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems are connective tissue coursing through the building structure. Vertical aligned plenums and horizontal chase-ways are circuits of vital connectivity.”
Elbows and jogs add to the friction and overall length of these building systems, Therien adds.
“The goal is to have short direct routes to optimize M, P and E distribution. Vertical stacks and soffits are strategies for implementation. Early coordination between members of the design team leads to the best outcomes.”
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