Cold Climate Housing Research Center

Cold Climate Housing Research CenterClient: Cold Climate Housing Research Center
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Project Completion: 2005
PDC Involvement:

  • Structural Engineering

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center presented a wide variety of challenges. The building consists of three structural systems supported on a complex foundation:

  • The office, a two-story wood frame building
  • The laboratory, a two-story steel-framed structure with offices above the laboratories
  • Below all of this, a multi-level concrete basement with an adjustable foundation

Due to the existence of permafrost on the site, there is a probability that differential settlement will occur. To compensate, PDC designed a foundation with a detached footing and pilaster that is captured by a continuous grade beam. The steel and concrete structures can be detached such that the footings can be pushed into the bearing strata following thaw strain.

The laboratory and classroom areas required systems that could accommodate multiple uses of the floor areas without columns. PDC developed customized solutions to address suspended classroom views to the labs, an environmentally sensitive sod roof system, storage space for on-site water systems, and clerestories to maximize the use of natural light.