Essential Services

Northern California

As a key component in the redevelopment of the downtown area, the Essential Services project was charged with high expectations for building image, function, and project delivery. To achieve its goals, the project design team utilized architectural precast concrete panels applied to structural steel and cast-in-place concrete frames.  The project consisted of a 4-story steel framed office building, with an attached 8 level and 800 car post-tensioned concrete parking structure. The building houses critical police, fire and emergency operations facilities, as well as the City’s management information systems. Occupying a prime site on the newly developed waterfront, the building commands high visibility both from the nearby freeway, and from major downtown corridors. The project’s close proximity to neighboring historical landmarks provided additional challenges and opportunities to the designers.

Because of its prominent location and the intent for this project to serve as a catalyst for further downtown development, the project needed to set a high standard of quality in both design and construction. The use of architectural precast panels was critical, as it allowed the architects design freedom while maintaining a high degree of quality control in the manufacturing and installation of the exterior wall panels. The architectural detailing included cornices, medallions, and intricate custom relief patterns which could be crisply executed in precast. This capability allowed the designers to enrich the building exterior with details appropriate to the surrounding historical context.  In addition to the unique custom details, the building’s precast panels were designed with varying thicknesses and  reveals, providing a highly articulated surface. Concrete’s plastic quality allowed the design of arched windows and curved openings. The design team and precast contractor worked with combinations of two different concrete colors and various sandblast and bush hammer finishes to achieve the desired panel appearance. Granite accents at the base of the walls offer additional elegance to the classic building design.

The use of precast also helped the project team meet an aggressive schedule, fixed budget, and the unique demands of construction in an urban setting. As the erection of the building framework was underway, wall panels were being completed and staged off-site. This provided a “head start” on the completion of the building envelope, while not impacting the tight construction site. Erection of the panels then proceeded very quickly, without the need for costly and cumbersome scaffolding systems. The efficiency afforded by the use of the precast system allowed the building to be made weather-tight ahead of schedule, allowed acceleration of the interior improvements.



Facts and Figures

State: CA

City: Stockton

Building Type: Office Building

Square Feet: 0

Year Completed: 2001

Job Number: 1282



English Harper Reta Architects, Inc.

General Contractor

Structural Engineer


City of Stockton



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