May 2013

Stanford University Bing Concert Hall

The $111.9 million Bing Concert Hall, which seats 844, opened its doors in January 2013. The 56’11” tall building has a unique elliptical drum-shaped concert hall core made from structural steel columns, and high roof supporting a 12” concrete cast in place shell, all tilted inboard at a uniform 10-degree angle, providing an architecturally unique shape. Olson Steel was the signatory contractor, who employed ironworkers from Locals 377 (San Francisco), Local 378 (Oakland, Calif.) and Local 790 (San Francisco) to perform the fabrication, structural, ornamental and miscellaneous metals work, including the erection of the “sail and clouds.” Also on the job were contractors Harris Salinas (rebar) and Pacific Erectors (decking).

Inside the concert hall core, HSS and WF structural steel supports a variety of 10 curved and conical segmented “sails” (lightweight truss, acoustical wall frames) and a segment of a Torus shaped ceiling “cloud” (lightweight acoustical frames). All of these structural support systems are suspended from the structural steel roof and embed plates placed in the concrete shell walls. There is a main catwalk above the cloud, and each sail has several levels of support steel for the required lighting and theatrical support systems, including a complex stair support system. The challenge of the project was forming large curved HSS steel frames to match these unique architectural features. The cloud support framework (rolled HSS to match a torus shape) was especially difficult to model and match with the acoustical panel “cloud” contractor. The bulk of the interior steel is hidden in architectural walls and required a significant amount of coordinating effort by Olson Steel in order to work with all of the other construction trades.

The unique design is a challenging combination of 870 tons of structural steel and thousands of pounds of shotcrete, integrated into a complex support system that includes hundreds of interacting radial arcs, forming sweeping architectural features and acoustical interior panels. The BIM (Building Information Modeling) and steel detailing earned Olson Steel the BIM award from Tekla Structures North America.

Terry Dunnigan, business agent of Local 377, remarked on the project, “This project was comprised of very complex steel erection and precise work on the “sail and cloud” main architectural and acoustical elements in the main hall. Union ironworkers completed their work ahead of schedule and with no accidents following the “See Something, Say Something” Zero Fatality campaign.”

Olson Steel’s work, obtained by a hard bid followed by additional tough negotiation, was done by Local 790 (San Francisco) shop ironworkers with 26,531 man-hours, and Local 377 and 378 field ironworkers with 18,800 man-hours. The project was completed with zero accidents, and with the very complex steel erection completed ahead of schedule. Olson Steel, a union contractor since 1960, employs 100 Local 790 (San Francisco) shop ironworkers and 175 Local 377 and Local 378 field ironworkers.

The Bing Concert Hall decking work was obtained by a competitive bid by Pacific Erectors, a union company for 22 years, employing over 50 ironworkers. The ironworkers, who worked over 1,500 man-hours, completed 85,000 square feet of decking, 10,000 shear studs and 5,000 D-Bars, safely, on time and on budget.

The rebar on the job was awarded by an advertised bid and performed by 25-year union contractor Harris Salinas Rebar Inc. Man-hours totaled 15, 224 hours, and work was done on budget, on time, and with zero accidents. Harris Salinas Rebar employs 184 ironworkers.

The Bing Hall Concert, surrounded by a 1-story, 65,000-square-foot lobby and office complex, has changed the experience of performing arts on the Stanford campus, and stands as a magnificent tribute to the expert craftsmanship of union ironworkers.