by Jeffrey Smilow, P.E.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2002, Vol. 72, Issue 3, Pg. 70-75

Document Type: Feature article


Ranked as one of the 15 tallest buildings in New York, the headquarters of the Bear Stearns Companies, Inc., is a 45-story skyscraper that is 815 ft (248 m) tall. Replacing an existing 20-story building, the structure encloses 1.2 million sq ft (114,800 m2) of office space and has a base footprint that measures 212 by 200 ft (64.6 by 61 m). The building is broken into three parts. First, a rectangular base transforms, at the 12th floor, into an octagon that measures an overall 172 by 185 ft (52 by 56 m). At the 18th floor, a smaller, octagonal tower rises upward for the remainder of the structure. The project introduced several challenges. Due to underground rail lines, only 40 percent of the building's footprint is supported by natural bedrock. Engineers encapsulated the steel infrastructure of the old building in concrete to increase its load-carrying capacity. Placement of the underground railroad tracks made it necessary to place the elevator core at the west side of the building, a move that provided additional challenges. To allow for a column-free lobby, two 85 ft (26 m) long pickup trusses are located on the second floor, with each truss supporting the 43 floors above it. The building was completed and occupied in February 2002.

Subject Headings: Floors | Buildings | Underground structures | Trusses | Subways | Space colonies | Rail transportation

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