Army National Guard Readiness Center
Arlington, Virginia
Amanda C. Farace
Structural Option
AE Senior Thesis 2009 I 2010


Building Statistics

General Building Data

Building Name
Army National Guard Readiness Center Addition
111 S. George Mason Dr. Arlington Hall, Arlington, VA
Building Occupant
Army National Guard
Building Function
Joint Headquarters Administrative Building
251,000 Square Feet
Number of Stories
5 Stories above grade, 2 stories below grade and a mechanical penthouse
Duration of Construction
December 2009-January 2011
Contract Value
$100 Million
Project Delivery Method
Design-Bid-Build with Lump Sum


Army National Guard
General Contractor
Tompkins Builders, Inc.
CH2M Hill



Design & Functional Components:

The Army National Guard Readiness Center Addition is an eight story Joint Headquarters Administrative building addition. The building is comprised of a Plaza component, which consists of 3 larger levels below grade level, and a triangular shaped Tower component, which consists of 5 levels above ground and a mechanical penthouse. The larger levels below grade, will house special administrative areas within sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs) as well as an auditorium, fitness center, and telecommunication center. The 5 story tower will house general office space, several conference rooms and a library. The addition embraces many of the same features of the existing facility and will include a one story bridge connecting the existing facility with the new building. Physical security features have also been incorporated into the design including maximum standoff distances, internal bracing to prevent progressive collapse, blast walls, berms, and bollards. The roof above the three below grade levels that are larger than the tower is an intensive green roof that acts as a large plaza for the tower which can be seen in figure 1. One of the most unique architectural features of the Army National Guard Addition is the steel tricorn that tops off the southern point of the triangular tower. This was added as a bid option for aesthetic features only. This facility is expected to achieve a LEED Silver certification rating.


Building Enclosure:

The facade of the Army National Guard Readiness Center addition is compromised of a unique combination of batter and ribbed precast concrete panels as well as a glazed aluminum curtain wall system. The curtain wall panels are constructed with aluminum and combinations of clear glass, fritted glass, and spandrel glass. Specific glass details have not yet been established. The curtain wall is attached to the edge of a concrete slab on metal decking floor system. The glazing, metal walls panels and frames were designed to act as one unified system to ensure hazard mitigation is effective and compliant with Force Protection Building classification and Department of Defense Building requirements.

There are two roofing systems used on this project, the main roofing of the tower and the green canopy at the plaza level. The main roofing system is rigid insulation topped with ballast over a single-ply waterproofing membrane. The roofing material has not yet been finalized but is expected to have an Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) equal to or greater than 78 to meet LEED standards. The flashing will be the same membrane as the single-ply membrane material. The parapet wall sheathing will be a glass-mat gypsum wall sheathing. The intensive green roof area is designed to sustain a wide variety of plant species including shrubs and small trees. This roofing includes a rubberized membrane that contains an inert clay filler and crumb rubber that enables the product to be resistant to acids from fertilizers. It will also contain polyester fabric reinforcing sheet, reinforced flashing membrane, a fiberglass root barrier protection course, a water retention mat, and filter fabric below an appropriate thickness of soil to sustain the growth of approved vegetation.

Major National Codes:

- International Building Code 2006 (IBC)
- National Fire Protection Agency Codes (NFPA)
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Military Planning 1190
- PAM 200-1; 415-15; 420-7
- Unified Facilities Criteria


The Army National Guard Readiness Center site is located within Arlington County's District S3-A special zoning district. This district designates land that has distinct and unique site advantages of other desirable features and include public buildings, service buildings, public parks, and recreational areas.

Historical Requirements: Not Applicable

Sustainability Features: The main sustainable feature of this building is the intensive green roof that was mentioned before. This facility is expected to achieve LEED Silver Certification rating. Many of the materials and construction methods used will be LEED rated and energy efficient, however, most of the specifics are not yet known due to the building being in early stages of construction.

Primary Systems


Site Excavation in May 2009

Mat Slab Reinforcement

Level 1P


Excavation for the Army National Guard Readiness Center Addition began on December 1, 2008 and the anticipated substantial completion date is January 2011. Tompkins Builders, Inc., a subsidiary of Turner Construction Company is the General Contractor.  The project delivery method is Design-Bid-Build with the General Contractor holding lump sum contracts with subcontractors.  The Army National Guard Site is an expansive fifteen acres however, with the layout of the existing facility, two parking structures, and the simultaneous construction of a third parking structure the actual site space is limited.  This makes efficient coordination between subcontractors and the GC crucial.  Tower cranes were also utilized to help mitigate coordination issues and reduce traffic maintenance around the site.


The structural system of the Army National Guard Readiness Center Addition is cast-in-place concrete with the exception of the main stair tower number 2 on the south side of the building, which is structural steel.  Typical bay sizes range from 20’ by 25’ to 20’ by 30’.  The floor system is a 2 way flat plate system.  The concrete has a compressive strength of 4000 psi and varying reinforcement and thickness to allow for the extensive areas of access flooring.  Typical reinforced concrete columns are 1’-10” by 1’-10” with (8) #8 longitudinal reinforcing bars and #3 ties at 12” on center. 

The structural steel system of the southern stair tower consists of rectangular HSS beams and round, composite HSS columns.  The beams range from HSS12x8x.625 to HSS14x4x.625 .  The composite columns are either HSS 8.625x.322 or HSS 11.25x.500.

The new facility utilizes a mat slab foundation system.  The entire foundation system consists of a 6” crushed stone base, 2” concrete mud mat, 3’-7” mat foundation with varying reinforcement and 5200 psi compressive strength concrete,  2’-9” aggregate and a 12” concrete slab on grade with #5 bars at 18” on center.

A special condition in the structural system of the new facility is a 2” expansion joint in the three underground levels.  This was due to the fact that the tower component has a much smaller footprint than the three underground layers.  The expansion joint is in the slab on grade, 3P, 2P, and 1P level.  This allows the tower component and plaza component to almost act as separate entities and the concrete columns can run from the bottom floor all the way up to the penthouse level continuously even where the building steps back at the plaza level.

Special blast requirements and reinforcement to prevent progressive collapse have also been incorporated into the building’s design.


Air-handling units (AHUs) are located in mechanical rooms on every level ranging from 1500 cfm to 2450 cfm.  Individual variable air volume (VAV) terminals and fan coil units (FCUs) are also appropriately dispersed throughout each floor to control heating and ventilation in different spaces.  A hyrdronic HVAC system distributes water to AHUs and VAV terminals on each floor as well as the energy recovery units in the mechanical penthouse level.  The hydronic HVAC system consists of a 4-pipe heating and chilled water system.  AHUs and VAVs are supplied by 100% outdoor air.  A Building Automation System (BAS) regulates all individual units while monitoring the temperature in each space and controlling the FCUs.  Emergency backup generators are also located in the mechanical penthouse with the energy recovery units.


Dominion Power Company supplies power to both the existing facility and the new Army National Guard Addition.  It comes into the site at 35.4 kV and is stepped down by a switchgear and is then supplied to the building with 2 main feeders at 15kV each.  Within the main building, the feeders connect to substations and after being stepped down again to 480/277V 3 phase, 4-wire system is distributed throughout the building.  Emergency energy is supplied by two 1500 kW, diesel powered generators located on the penthouse level.  A large conduit riser runs from the penthouse level down seven stories and cuts east-west at the second story to supply emergency power to the substation.

The lighting elements throughout the new facility will be either fluorescent lamps (277 V) or incandescent lamps (120 V).  The lighting system is fed by 208/120V 3 phase, 4 wire panel boards.  Automatic controls cover most of the building with the exception of office spaces.  The open offices areas will be controlled by a programmable lighting fixtures are provided in some of the smaller offices located around the operations center.


Secondary Systems


There are two elevator pits in the new Army National Guard facility. Altogether there will be six (6) machine room less (MRL) elevators. Three of the elevators will be gear less service elevators (cars 4-6) and the other three will be passenger elevators (cars 1-3). All elevators will service every floor and car 5 will also service the penthouse level. Each elevator runs 350 feet per minute. The passenger cars have a platform size of 6'-8" wide by 5'-5" deep and the service elevators are 5'-8" wide by 7'-10 1/2" deep.

There are three stairwells in the building, two of which extend from the lowest level all the way to level 5T. The third set of stairs only reaches the three underground floors.  Stair Number 2 is the main stairwell.  It is centrally located on the plaza levels and in the tower levels it is along the southern point of the triangular.  It also is a unique architectural feature with its triangular shape, complete glass enclosure and topped off by the steel tricorn above the building.  This stair is to be constructed of structural steel and must by completed in conjunction with the cast-in-place concrete construction.  This requires a great amount of coordination between subcontractors and the GC.


The Army National Guard Readiness Center houses administrative and resource functions that provide liaison and support to the National Guard in all 50 states and territories, and to the federal government.  This requires multiple communication systems that are extremely secure and therefore there are at least two IT/Telecommunication rooms on each floor.  There will be 100% access flooring in all IT/Telecommunication rooms, conference rooms, and offices spaces to simplify coordination and removes items from the already cramped ceiling spaces.  All telecommunication systems will be fed through floor boxes installed in the access flooring system. 

Fire Protection:

Water service is available from two existing hydrants located on the west side of the building along George Mason Drive and at the northeast corner between the new and existing facility.  The hydrants provide 1520 Gallon per minute flow rate.  The building was designed for both light hazard areas, which require 0.10 GPM over 3,000 sq ft, and ordinary hazard areas which require 0.20 GPM over 3,000 sq ft.  Most of the building is sprinkled with an automatic wet-pipe system with concealed sprinklers and vertical sprinkler risers in the stairwells.  FM 200 system, which is a clean system, is used in the main server room where extremely sensitive electrical equipment is stored that would be easily damaged by water.  The FM 200 system is a colorless, non-toxic gas stored in two 300 gallon cylinders, which will release into the room and extinguish the fire within 10 seconds of detection.  All stairwells and elevator cores are two-hour fire rated as well as the provided areas of refuge.  The corridors, mechanical rooms, electrical rooms and IT/Telecommunication rooms are al 1 hour fire-rated.  The building is also fitted with a digital, addressable fire-alarm system whish will have manual stations, heat detectors, duet smoke detectors, verified automatic alarm operations, automatic sprinkler system water flow, fire extinguishing systems, and fire standpipe system.

Security System:

Due to the sensitive nature of this building advanced security systems were a necessary part or the design of the Army National Guard Readiness Center Addition.  Part of this system includes intrusion detection.  This protection will detect intrusion through protected areas throughout the building as well as through the building envelope.   It also covers surge protection to sensitive equipment, card key access to secure areas and controllers, annunciators, pull boxes and other system components.


User Note: While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work-in-progress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Amanda Farace. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.
This page was last updated on October 6, 2009, by Amanda Farace and is hosted by The Pennsylvania State University AE Department ©2009