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July 23, 2020


Photo by Josh Partee
WPI designed and manufactured 48 prefabricated exterior wall panels to be flown in and installed on the rooftop.

Gladys McCoy Health Department Headquarters

Location: Portland

Contractor: Western Partitions Inc.

Architect: ZGF Architects

Team: International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Laborers International Union of North America Local 737, Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, CWallA, Western Materials, Dryvit Systems, SCAFCO Steel Stud Co., USG Building Systems

The Gladys McCoy Health Department Headquarters is a nine-story building in Portland’s Old Town neighborhood, housing over 500 employees and designed to service the most vulnerable community members for the next 80 years.

The unique exterior framing has a 12-guage, oversized nested top track with an additional top track at the jamb locations. WPI found this required extra coordination and complex sub-framing to support the undulating shapes. Shop drawings and prefabricating the shapes offsite was the only viable option to save onsite labor and time accessing the lifts.

“Learning how to install the shapes one by one into the exact locations was a bit of a curveball for our crew, but they took it in stride and did an incredible job,” said foreman Kris Blanchard. Another unique feature was the rooftop penthouse, where trades were scheduled to be working next to each other in tight quarters. WPI designed and manufactured 48 prefabricated exterior wall panels — complete with framing, sheathing, and pre-sprayed weather barrier — to be flown in and installed on the rooftop. This drastically reduced time on FRACO lifts and allowed finishing two to three months ahead of schedule.

Other challenges included sharing the block with the Bud Clark Commons, a mere 11 feet from the west elevation of the health building, and the MAX Light Rail running along the east elevation.

Judges’ comment: “The exterior design of the McCoy project presented unique challenges to the WPI team, who were overcome with the planning and precision required. Offsite prefabrication of asymmetrical break-shapes of the exterior surface was a brilliant solution to meet the design goals and keep the project on track.”

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