The Laurel at Rittenhouse Square,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Overview: The Laurel, located at 1911 Walnut Street in Rittenhouse Square, was developed by Southern Land Company. It includes a 52-story, 583,000 square foot residential tower fronting Walnut Street, and a 3-story retail/office building with 2 levels of underground parking fronting Sansom and 20th Streets. The Laurel rose to 604 feet, making it the tallest residential building in Center City. This ultra-luxury complex consists of 65 condominiums and 184 apartments on top of a three-story podium, with 44,000 square feet of retail and dining spaces. A new underground utility tunnel below Moravian Street will connect the tower and the retail/garage building. GeoStructures performed the geotechnical investigation and design for the development at Rittenhouse Square.

Test borings including rock coring were conducted to characterize the subsurface conditions for foundation and construction. A mat foundation was selected as the optimal foundation system with estimated savings of over $2 million versus caissons. A detailed evaluation was carried out by GeoStructures to minimize the impact on the surrounding historic structures. GeoStructures performed pressuremeter testing (PMT) to accurately determine the elastic moduli of the foundation soils. The results were incorporated into a Finite Element Method (FEM) model for mat and underlying soilboth vertically and laterally. The construction sequence for the mat was simulated during the analysis including viable stages. The test results were used to determine settlement of the mat under the tower and its impact on adjacent structures, especially the immediately adjoining Theosophy Building.

GeoStructures is providing special inspection services for the entire construction, including a 4380-CY single mat foundation pour. The superstructure inspection comprised steel rebar and cast-in-place concrete testing for columns, shear walls, structural slabs, floor flatness and levelness, post-tensioning of structural slabs, structural steel, and sprayed fireproofing in addition to laboratory testing of high strength concrete up to 14,000 psi.

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