A Whole New Experience

by Steven M. Huey, P.E., Principal; Wallace Engrg. Struct. Consultants, Inc., Kansas City, MO,
Thomas L. North, P.E., Proj. Mgr.; Wallace Engrg. Struct. Consultants, Inc., Kansas City, MO,
Anthony Birchler, P.E., Dir. of Engrg.; A. Zahner Co., Kansas City, MO,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2000, Vol. 70, Issue 8, Pg. 58-65

Document Type: Feature article


Experience Music Project co-founders Paul Allen and Jody Allen Patton wanted a new museum/interactive music facility for Seattle that reflected the creativity of Jimi Hendrix. In architect Frank Gehry, they found what they were looking for. The building, which rises to 85 ft at its tallest point and includes 140,000 sq ft of usable space, follows no orderly pattern or shape. Its winding, fluid profile contrasts against the adjacent Space Needle, and is destined to become a symbol of the city. The exterior shape of the Experience Music Project does not necessarily follow the shape of the superstructure below, so there are no continuous horizontal lines or waterlines to guide the engineers and constructors. The orientation of all of the panel members and the skin change as each section progresses along a girt line. Each orientation changed the direction of the design forces relative to the support members, such that forces that counteracted one another in one orientation became additive in another location. This also made the connection between adjoining panels one of the most complicated parts of the system design.

Subject Headings: Project management | Water pipelines | Superstructures | Connections (structural) | Chemical additives | Buildings | Architects

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