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Hexcel Center of Research & Technology Excellence

Summarize the project's program, features and achievements?

The Hexcel Center of Research & Technology Excellence exemplifies a harmonious blend of functional efficiency and artistic excellence, representing a cutting-edge office and laboratory space for Hexcel, a leader in high-performance lightweight composite materials. The design meticulously reflects Hexcel's core materials—carbon fiber, honeycomb, and other fiber-reinforced matrix materials—integrating their unique properties into the architectural and aesthetic elements of the building.

The design process began with an in-depth exploration of Hexcel's materials. Carbon fiber, noted for its distinctive textural pattern, inspired the choice of various neutral tones, adding depth and visual interest to the palette. The 45-degree diagonal weave pattern of the carbon fiber was a significant influence, echoed in the exterior material expressions.

Hexcel's honeycomb material, with its warm tones and light-filtering properties, introduced elements of warmth and luminosity. This was achieved through the use of wood-toned cladding and expanded metal panel window coverings, which allowed natural light to filter gently into the space, enhancing the overall ambiance. Hexagonal shapes, inspired by Hexcel's logo and the honeycomb structure, are incorporated throughout the design. These shapes appear in decorative textures, tiling patterns, window treatments, and sculptural lobby elements, reinforcing Hexcel's brand identity and paying homage to the fundamental materials of their technological advancements.

The color palette predominantly features neutral shades such as blacks, grays, whites, and natural wood tones, with strategic injections of Hexcel's signature blue to add vibrancy and personality. The exterior glazing was selected for its dark, semi-reflective qualities, capturing mirrored glimpses of the surrounding landscape as the color tone seemingly lightens and darkens with the rising and setting sun, thereby integrating the building with its natural environment.

The project is a two-story, 60,000-square-foot office building with an additional 50,000 square feet of clear height laboratory space, delivered through a Design-Build system. The structure features steel floors supporting a concrete-filled metal decking, with the perimeter constructed from site-cast tilt-up concrete panels. These panels are designed to support both gravity loads and lateral wind and seismic loads, demonstrating the structural robustness required for such a facility. The foundation system combines spot and continuous footings to ensure stability and durability.

One of the notable features of the office space is an amenities balcony along one of the building's elevations, offering a blend of functionality and relaxation for the occupants. To support the roof's step-back design, buckling restrained braced frames are utilized, providing lateral support and enhancing the building's seismic resilience.

Future expansion has been considered in the design, with provisions for a 30,000-square-foot office expansion and a 12,000-square-foot laboratory expansion. This forward-thinking approach ensures that Hexcel can accommodate growth without compromising on design integrity or functionality. This project stands as a testament to innovative design and engineering, seamlessly integrating Hexcel's high-performance materials into the architectural fabric of the building. The meticulous attention to aesthetic detail, combined with robust structural solutions, not only meets but exceeds the functional requirements, creating a space that is both inspiring and enduring.

What obstacles were overcome related to the schedule, budget, program, specification, site, etc. on this project?

The Hexcel project faced several challenges that required exceptional teamwork and problem solving. A major challenge stemmed from discrepancies in the blast radius standards communicated by the city. Initially, it was believed that the overpressure blast radius of a nearby defense contractor's rocket testing area would be discontinued, freeing the project from these design requirements. However, it became clear during construction that these standards remained in place, necessitating a redesign of the exterior framing and concrete panels. Through close collaboration, the design-build team successfully adapted to this change while maintaining the project's original vision.

Another significant challenge was the record-breaking snowfall in Utah during construction. To connect sewer lines, the site required an import of soil to raise the ground plane by five to six feet. Protecting this soil and preventing pipe freezing involved the daily application of snow blankets and tarps over 60,000 square feet for three months. When the soil became frozen or overly saturated, eight inches beneath the pad had to be replaced with recycled concrete for stability. This process demonstrated the team's commitment to quality despite harsh weather conditions. The project team also worked with Hexcel and city authorities to address environmental considerations, implementing effective stormwater management and sustainable waste practices. This ensured regulatory compliance and underscored a commitment to the community.

The ability to overcome these challenges highlights the team's dedication and resilience, contributing to the successful completion of the Hexcel Center of Research & Technology Excellence.

Please communicate any engineering complexities or unique features of the panel design for this project?

Addressing challenging footing designs was essential for this project. One corner required a six-foot reduction in footing depth to meet the 36-inch frost depth requirement, ensuring structural integrity. To maintain the schedule, the east wing tilt-up panels were poured at the onset of snow. This involved spraying hot water to melt frozen debris and caulking relief cuts in the pad to counter winter conditions. Innovatively, the tilt-up panels were used as the crane path to avoid potential soil issues, a strategy executed after thorough consultation with engineers. This resulted in a seamless process with all panels erected quickly, maintaining both structural integrity and aesthetic appeal.

The exterior Trespa panels were oriented to create a dynamic woven carbon fiber pattern, reflecting Hexcel's commitment to excellence in composite materials. Additionally, the tilt-up panels underwent a meticulous sandblasting process to enhance their carbon fiber-like appearance. This technique, applied after curing and installation, reinforced the project's dedication to craftsmanship and contributed to the overall visual effect. Through strategic decisions and innovative solutions, the project team maintained high standards of construction quality and craftsmanship of the tilt-up panels, ensuring the successful completion of the Hexcel Center of Research & Technology Excellence.

What is the potential for this project's impact on the community and/or environment?

The Hexcel project significantly contributes to both the industry and the local community. Its primary goal is to promote research and development in advanced composite technology, focusing on aerospace, space, defense, and industrial applications. A key aspect of the project is its commitment to sustainability. Hexcel recycles carbon fiber prepreg cutoffs to produce commercial composite panels, demonstrating a forward-thinking approach to resource utilization and waste reduction. The company's 2030 sustainability targets include a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 30% reduction in landfill waste, and a 20% reduction in freshwater use. The facility's design integrates manufacturing and research spaces, fostering seamless collaboration between scientists and production personnel. This contemporary setup underscores Hexcel's commitment to innovation and showcases how diverse functions can coexist within a single space.

The project is also expected to create additional jobs in the local community, boosting the economy and solidifying Hexcel's role as a valued community member. Moreover, the project was designed with future expansion in mind. By incorporating scalability, Hexcel has minimized the potential impact of future construction on the community, reflecting a commitment to sustainable growth and long-term environmental well-being.

Hexcel also demonstrates its commitment to making the world a better place through charitable giving and volunteering in local communities. Programs include student research support, and The Hexcel Foundation, which supports global and local communities by investing in STEM education, health, hunger, and homelessness initiatives. This makes a lasting positive impact on both the industry and the community.

 
Main banner image for Hexcel Center of Research & Technology Excellence

Project Location

West Valley City, UT 84118
United States

Project Images

TILT-UP TODAY MAGAZINE / PROJECTS IN THE NEWS

Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
 
Concrete Contractor:
Phaze Concrete, Inc.
Architect:
 
Engineer:
Dunn Associates
Suppliers:
 
Photographer(s):
R&O Construction

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Office
Building Types:
Laboratory
Finishes:
Concrete (Exposed Aggregate)
Concrete (Raw/Sealed)
Features:
Formliner
Reveals
Insulation:
Post Applied (Interior)
Environmental:
Number of Floors:
2
Number of Panels:
56 panels
Total Floor Area:
103,600 sq ft (9,624 sq m)
Project Footprint:
74,400 sq ft (6,912 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
26 ft 5 in (8.05 m)
Widest Panel:
18 ft 6 in (5.64 m)
Largest Panel:
460 sq ft (42.7 sq m)
Heaviest Panel:
46,000 lbs (20,865 kg)