Rockefeller University River Building – Erection Engineering

Standout Features

McLaren Engineering Group’s structures, construction engineering, and marine teams collaborated on this extraordinary effort that lifted nineteen three-story prefabricated steel building structures (modules). The structures, weighing up to 700 tons, were safely lifted off a crane barge from the East River, over the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive (FDR) Drive and into place for Rockefeller University’s 160,000-square-foot expansion.

Rockefeller University was the first biomedical research institute established in the U.S., and has been credited with several discoveries including gene composition. In an effort to expand its campus and stay at the forefront of biomedical research, the University is adding two acres to their campus by building over the FDR, from 62nd to 68th Street. The expansion connects the century old campus to four additional blocks along the East River. Key features of the new building include low height and horizontal floor plates with large areas, ensuring the inclusion of multiple adjacent laboratories and a green roof which regenerates the natural landscape.

The McLaren Difference: Applied Ingenuity

McLaren’s construction engineers, naval architects, marine and structural engineers joined forces to make this unconventional expansion a reality. The construction engineering and structures divisions devised the mooring arm truss and whaler beam anchorage system, while the marine division evaluated environmental loading conditions for stability of the Chesapeake 1000 crane barge and module transport barges. The environmental loading conditions were examined for a variety of operational and extreme weather conditions, allowing for subsequent crane barge anchorage components designs in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) standards.

McLaren provided an innovative and adaptive solution for the erection engineering sequencing plan, as the framing for the structures were built off-site and brought to location via barge. Overall steel erection sequencing included stability analysis of building modules, design of temporary shoring systems, design of a pivoting davit arm, built-up steel whaler beam with “sliding lock” mechanism, specifications for the rigging components, a barge-crane capacity check and temporary cribbing design.

McLaren also provided structural engineering consulting services for the custom design of the temporary concrete caisson foundations and rock anchors at the adjacent property, for the placement of the first building module.