Category: Institutional
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Size: 120000 sq. ft.
Masonry Used: 3,750 sf Granite base. 27,500 sf Limestone veneer. 25,500 sf Ashlar veneer. 180,000 sf CMU walls/piers
Submitted by: Saint Joseph's University

Project Description

St. Joseph's University, located in Philadelphia, has grown rapidly since acquiring additional campus acreage in 2001. Their need for student housing to accommodate their growing student population was apparent. This 6-story residence hall is 116,500 SF with space for 415 occupants, including lounges, study rooms and fitness center. The buildings massing and stone exterior are in keeping with the traditional feel of the campus. The project serves as the southern gateway to the campus, with pathways that link the campus to Maguire Campus. The building is sited to respect the adjacent chapel and form an open space for student activities.

The design combines a granite base and limestone base with a field of coursed ashlar stone blend. Limestone was used at the building's entrance and to clad the study towers at each end of the building. Limestone bands and window surrounds were also used to break down the six-story mass of the building. The limestone cornice with integral gutter also provided a transition to the slate roof.

Molly Construction's role included providing structural concrete footings, foundations, slab on grade and walls, load-bearing CMU walls, CMU partition walls, stone veneer and site work concrete, CMU and stone.

PZS worked with Molly's skilled masons and field support for the installation of the reinforced and 100% grouted CMU walls, the construction team completed per floor in 7-9 days to keep pace with the installation of hollow core plank floors.

The unique design of the building structure permitted the masons to construct the foundations, slab-on grade, structural walls, and partition walls and veneer while optimizing the construction schedule. The one-stop masonry approach provided economies of scale that reduced coordination of trades, schedule and cost, it's also ideal for dormitories because of the excessive wear and tear.

The interior of the completed building has glazed and painted masonry walls, apoxy terrazzo, and vinyl tiles over concrete floors for durability and longevity that will reduce the operations costs throughout the buildings lifetime.

The sawn coursed ashlar blend of schist, granite and gneiss was chosen specifically for its user-friendly capability, cost and aesthetics. This choice was based on the desire for larger stones for the roughly 26,000 square feet of ashlar veneer. The raw material was more expensive; however the larger stones and shop sawn streamlined production resulting in labor cost savings.

The project adhered to an aggressive timeline in order to be prepared for freshman move in day. Molly manned the job early with stone masons who made corners and palletized them. The masons created numerous box patterns the width of the buildings piers and filled them with dressed stone. The filled boxes were placed on the scaffold platforms in the morning for the work needed throughout the day. This process was repeated throughout the project. This quality control technique helped drive the consistent appearance and quality of the veneer system. It also made for a more productive work environment allowing optimal material handling, expedited production and a safe work site.

Project Participants

Architect / Designer's Name: Michael Skolnick
Company: PZS Architects
Phone: (215) 483-1915

Structural Engineer' s Name: Joseph Barbato
Company: J. Barbato Associates LLC
Phone: (610) 558-6050

General Contractor's Name: John Bremner
Company: Intech Construction
Phone: (215) 243-4947

Masonry Contractor's Name: John Giungo
Company: Molly Construction
Phone: (215) 535-2877 x223

Masonry Supplier
Company: Delaware Quarries
Phone: (215) 862-1670

Masonry Supplier
Company: Evans Limestone Co.
Phone: (812) 279-9744

Masonry Supplier's Name: Claude Lacroix
Company: A. Lacroix Granit
Phone: (888) 652-6550

Landscape Architect's Name: Laurie Olin
Company: Olin Studio
Phone: (215) 440-0030