Building Beneath Boston

by James M. Becker, (M.ASCE), Pres.; Beacon Construction Co., Boston, MA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 3, Pg. 66-69

Document Type: Feature article


Up/down construction is a method in which a project's substructure and superstructure are simultaneously built. The substructure's wall, column and foundation systems are installed prior to excavation. The below-grade floor system acts as both construction phase and permanent cross-bracing, through sequential installation as excavation proceeds. The method originated in Europe, was used in Chicago for the first time in the early 1980's and has been refined and adapted in several Boston projects. Boston's difficult geology, crowded urban environment, and complex utility and transit systems make the method attractive. In addition, the method can save money by cutting construction time. Several projects are described and the lessons learned from each application of up/down construction are explained. The most recent project is the seven-level Post Office Square parking garage, the deepest in the city. A public park sits on the surface in the city's financial district.

Subject Headings: Project management | Construction methods | Substructures | Parking facilities | Excavation | Construction management | Walls | Boston | Massachusetts | United States

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