Light Gage Steel – The Smyth

The Smyth is one of North America’s tallest pre-fabricated metal load-bearing wall panel projects. This L-shaped mixed-use, development features 12 stories of light gage steel framing, supported by a concrete transfer slab atop the 5-story concrete podium. In addition to designing the structural framework of the light gage steel levels, McLaren provided structural plans for the highrise’s 19,330 square feet of retail space and 5-level parking garage.

Being constructed at 885 Washington Blvd in Stamford, CT, The Smyth offers a modern industrial chic aesthetic with walkable access to several shopping, dining and nightlife options from its center-of-town location. Totaling 17-stories of luxury 400+ residential units — the penthouse levels were engineered with 14 inch and 16 inch composite joists to span up to 35 feet while still limiting floor deflections and vibrations.

This luxury multifamily apartment building’s amenities will include co-working spaces with private offices and conference capabilities, intended to offer residents a better work from home experience. McLaren also engineered custom steel-framed glass canopies for the top floor of the building that provides a glass-clad amenity space that includes a fitness room, clubroom, and an exterior rooftop pool.

The McLaren Difference: Applied Ingenuity

McLaren provided design solutions to numerous challenges during the project. Working closely with the geotechnical engineering company on the project, McLaren discovered we were able to utilize shallow spread footings in lieu of costly deep foundations via ground improvement methods. Using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) McLaren designed shearwall core mat foundations to eliminate tension rock anchors. A structural steel-framed mezzanine level was designed to hang from the concrete framed floor above, eliminating the need for costly piers and spread footings. To maximizes the space of the building,  eccentric shallow spread foundations were designed adjacent to the property line providing a “zero lot line”, leaving essentially no extra space between the building and the boundary line.

For the parking garage, McLaren worked closely with the precast fabricator to brace the top of the basement foundation level with precast garage floors for the 5-tier parking garage. This eliminated costly cantilever retaining walls, significantly reducing the wall thickness, size of foundations and reinforcement.

For the two-story amenity area totaling 18,000 square feet of interior and exterior amenity space, McLaren designed long-span composite roof joists to accommodate an open floor plan and a 14-foot-tall steel-framed roof screen wall. Concrete shearwalls to continue to roof level were also designed to eliminate the need for cold-formed steel flat strap shearwalls that are often cut in the field by other trades, eliminating costly repairs.

McLaren led an overall Value Engineering review of the building layout and performed a parametric analysis of the column grid and floor layout with the Architect to achieve upwards of a 15% reduction in concrete yardage, slab thicknesses, steel reinforcing bars and shallow footings sizes.