FitzGerald Associates Architects was among the winners at last Friday’s Key Awards – put on by the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago – bringing home a Crystal Key for Innovation and Creativity for Technical Innovation at Circa 922. FitzGerald’s entry focused on the building’s Girder-Slab structural system–the first time used in Chicago–which was chosen for its value, speed of erection, and low floor-to-floor heights. Girder-Slab is a prefabricated system of modified steel girders that allow precast concrete slabs to sit within the channel between beams–rather than on top of those beams–so floor-to-floor heights are greatly reduced. As a result, the building includes an additional floor in the same overall building height when compared to traditional steel structure design.
Critically, the girders, the precast slabs, and the building’s exterior concrete panels were able to be fabricated offsite and trucked in. This reduced labor cost and allowed construction to continue throughout the winter, saving an estimated eight weeks of construction time compared to weather-sensitive building systems.