City of Los Angeles Asphalt Plant No. 1

Project Objectives


The goal of this project was to modernize an aging, 1940s-era asphalt plant, with the ultimate goals of saving taxpayer money while producing more environmentally-friendly paving for L.A.’s 28,000 lane miles of streets.

Other objectives included:
  • Improving plant production efficiency, namely multiplying the output by 4x within the same property footprint—at a savings of nearly $20M per year.
  • Improving environmental sustainability by updating the antiquated plant to produce to modern standards and expectations, including the use of more recycled asphalt and meeting increasingly stringent air quality requirements.
  • Building a new, modern administration building.
  • Meeting the City’s requirement to incorporate public art into the final design of the administration building.

Project Objectives


The goal of this project was to modernize an aging, 1940s-era asphalt plant, with the ultimate goals of saving taxpayer money while producing more environmentally-friendly paving for L.A.’s 28,000 lane miles of streets.

Other objectives included:


  • Improving plant production efficiency, namely multiplying the output by 4x within the same property footprint—at a savings of nearly $20M per year.
  • Improving environmental sustainability by updating the antiquated plant to produce to modern standards and expectations, including the use of more recycled asphalt and meeting increasingly stringent air quality requirements.
  • Building a new, modern administration building.
  • Meeting the City’s requirement to incorporate public art into the final design of the administration building.



Challenges


There were several challenges facing this project, including:

  • Site constraints: The target output for the new plant would be that of plants that usually reside on 5 acres. The challenge was to meet the City’s expectations for increased production while working within the existing two-acre footprint.
  • Traffic flow: On a site less than half the size of facilities with similar asphalt output, ensuring the safe and efficient movement of vehicles, equipment, employees, and visitors around the property required conscientious planning.
  • Calculating available footprint: equipment needs for the plant needed to be determined before the available footprint could be calculated for the administrative building. We were not allowed to use specs for specific brands of equipment (each with their own size and capacities), so it made it challenging to accurately determine the available space the new administrative building.
  • Multiple clients and stakeholders: As with many public projects there are several stakeholders, not just within the city, as the client, but with the surrounding community, governing agencies, and the end users at the site. Because The ANT Group was subcontracted, we also had CH2M and All American Asphalt as clients.

“When we talk about getting L.A. back to basics, nothing could be more fundamental than ensuring that the streets we rely on to get around the city are safe and dependable. This new plant is a clear example of how L.A. is taking big steps to improve services while keeping our commitment to minding the bottom line and protecting the environment in everything that we do.”

– Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti [read news release]

Solution


The ANT Group’s involvement with this project began with the request for consulting on the use of Revit for All American Asphalt, the leading a material production and construction company in Southern CA. This ultimately turned into modeling efforts during the initial phases of the project. Then CH2M, a global provider of engineering services primarily for infrastructure and natural resource management projects, inquired about The ANT Group providing architectural services for the administration building.

All American Asphalt was engaged because of their expertise with paving materials and the facilities that produce them. Our role in the project was to develop schematic level detail for the plant’s required equipment, sufficient for 30% documentation, and then pass that data on to the design/build company.

When an administrative center was added to the scope of work, CH2M looked to us to design the new facility to the already-crowded urban site. This became The ANT Group’s primary contribution to the overall project.

ADMINISTRATION BUILDING INITIAL 2-STORY OPTION #3 (LEFT) & OPTION #5 (RIGHT)

We started with a brainstorming meeting to determine what functions the owner required of the building’s various rooms and spaces. Elevations were hand-sketched on a Cintiq tablet, allowing real-time interaction with and modification of the concept during production meetings held via web conference. This allowed for a rapid development of the building’s character, leading directly into Revit and 3D modeling.

The initial designs called for a 2-story solution.  We were given plenty of latitude as the city is known for its eagerness to support innovative architectural design. In fact, a requirement by the City of Los Angeles is the integration of public art in its buildings.

The ANT Group developed an exciting and relevant solution for this art challenge. A large steel cut out map of the greater metropolitan area spans a large wall in the facility. It is back-lit with real-time traffic movement projected on the surface. Additionally, the display can show where potholes have been reported, color-coded by the time between the initial report and the scheduled repair. The use of traditional materials together with this modern use of technology is a visual metaphor for the history of the site and its modernized use today and into the future.

Tools

Autodesk Revit for modeling and construction documentation, AutoCAD, Wacom Cintiq tablet for sketching and markups, BIM9 Server to host Revit and optimize work from remote locations, Adobe Photoshop for rendering touch up, and Archvision 3DRP for rendering content, and GoToMeeting for remote meetings, mark-ups, and screen sharing.

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