CALTRANS Southern Regional Laboratory
New Dimension Masonry, Inc.
Architect: CALTRANS - State of California
General Contractor: DJM Construction Co., Inc.
Suppliers: ORCO Block & Hardscape
Owner: CALTRANS - State of California
Wall System: Single Wythe: Reinforced Concrete Block
The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) is an organization that must take the utmost care in selecting the materials used to build and maintain their buildings and freeway systems. CALTRANS was required to build their new Construction Material Testing Laboratory Facilities to meet the owners’ premium expectations. Also, because it is located in the hot and windy San Bernardino Valley, it needed to be able to withstand the area’s natural elements. With these requirements at hand, logically the architects choose masonry as the most durable product suitable for this facility.
As you enter the site through the parking lot, it is readily apparent that masonry is the core and shell of the facility, it is the most prominent material used throughout its grounds and buildings. From the burnished canopy columns to the split face site walls, as well as, the radius planters and the serpentine walls, a visitor’s attention is steadily drawn to the facilities main building. Precast caps and window sills are also used to accent the unique block colors and the originality of this complex project.
Orco Block was the manufacturer of the various block used on this project, supplying split face, burnished and precision blocks, resulting in a combined total of over 142,000 blocks. The majority of the exterior walls were constructed out of 4” highs, an uncommon design statement for the State government building, providing an overall unique element to the CALTRANS building. In addition to such concrete masonry units, three glass block vistabric windows supplied by Thompson Building Materials add to the masonry-prominent aesthetics of the facility.
One of the issues that was encountered during the construction of this project were multiple lost construction days due to the high winds of the valley. This increased the degree of difficulty of installing full height vertical reinforcing and grout. Due to the uncertainty of the next wind storm occurrence, the crew maintained an accelerated performance pace to assure sections were completed prior to the next storm.
The New Dimension Masonry and DJM Construction team created a stunning project, in which the brilliance of masonry is reflected in every aspect of this project. The vast array of block is prevalent in the use of a variety of different sizes, colors and finishes. This facility has succeeded to blend in with its city surroundings, and has achieved all the owners design goals, in a creating a functional, enjoyable and unique masonry building for the Caltrans organization.
Date of Project Completion: April 2011
Photography by Hannah Alvarez