NYC’s Big Button Sculpture, Footing to Unveiling

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Source: American Society of Civil Engineers
April 18, 2023
NYC’s Big Button Sculpture, Footing to Unveiling

Big button finds footing in New York City

For the project to be a public-private partnership, part of it needed to extend off the Hines plaza, says Brendan Kelly, P.E., principal engineer at McLaren Engineering Group, which UAP contracted for civil and structural engineering work.

For this, McLaren mapped where the basement ended and public property began. As a result, a single thread connection point goes past the private property of the basement parameters and into public property. The process also provided for Theta information on where existing steel support beams underground could offer a foundation for the dunnage.

Siting one of the threads on public land also meant figuring out where the attachment and its concrete pier, which the dunnage is bolted into, could slot into the packed underground of New York. “Ironically, this project was kind of like threading a needle in the placement of this footing,” says Tim Noordewier, P.E., PTOE, project manager with McLaren.

Available space sat near a subway tunnel, so McLaren worked through permits and tests to prove construction wouldn’t interfere with the integrity of the transit system. The investigation included the city’s Department of Environmental Protection records, property documents, ground-penetrating radar, and vacuum boring — machinery that sucks up dirt to collect any detritus digging might dislodge — and revealed infrastructure that wasn’t documented, such as a sewer line and a brick wall remnant. (The latter is likely left over from a prior building on-site and required its own tests from McLaren to confirm it could be left alone without consequences.)


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