University of Houston Downtown Garage and Welcome Center
The existing Girard Street garage on the University of Houston Downtown campus was aging and in need of update. The new design creates a fresh “front door” for the campus by providing a 250–car parking garage, Welcome Center, administration space, and academic tenant space. The new structure connects horizontally to the existing One Main building and the existing Academic Building and Garage. Above the garage, an additional floor houses the tenant space and much needed Welcome Center.
Walter P Moore worked with the CM-at-Risk to determine the most appropriate structural systems, considering cost, flexibility, and long-term serviceability. UHD is situated on a few very small parcels of land in downtown Houston, therefore efficient design is mandatory. Walter P Moore implemented several future capacities into the structural design. The building can carry one additional future tenant floor, has capacity for a future walkway on the north side of Level 3, and a spiral garage ramp can be added on the west side.
The team chose a cast-in-place, post-tensioned structure for the garage portion of the structure because it provides better long-term durability for a structure exposed to environmental elements. The post-tensioned structure also provides more column-free space. For the tenant floors, the team chose a cast-in-place beam and slab system because this system allows more future flexibility for coring and new openings that a post-tensioned system would not allow. Walter P Moore supported the design by providing efficient space solutions and durable design in order to provide UH students and visitors with an updated main entrance for the downtown campus.