Charleston is situated on the banks of the Elk and Kanawha Rivers. As one crosses the Kanawha River on I-64, the Civic Center has been a primary focal point since its opening in 1958. The view of the civic center as one entered the city included back-of-house spaces and the truck loading dock. The newly completed project complements the beauty of the river and provides an inviting initial view of the city. The expansive glass curtainwall of the new pre-function space creates a vivid reflection on the river that visitors and residents can enjoy as they stroll along the new Riverwalk.
These new architectural features presented significant design challenges for Ross Bryan Associates, Inc. Innovative solutions were required to address these challenges. The existing buildings were constructed using precast concrete, cast-in-place concrete, structural steel, and heavy timber. The oldest part of the civic center was the grand hall. The original construction included exposed heavy timber arches. To avoid strengthening the existing timber roof due to possible snow drift, new steel framing cantilevers over the timber roof of the main hall to support potential snow drift. The proximity to the river required the structure to be elevated above the flood stage. Four existing primary columns were eliminated by creating a truss that spans over 130′ while using the upper column sections as truss verticals, opening the space adjacent to the exhibit hall. Fiber reinforcement was used to strengthen the existing beams in the coliseum lobby to create an open concept entrance, including the relocation of the monumental stair. These are just a few of the challenges that were addressed by the design team.
Charleston, West Virginia