GNCB believes that it is important to foster students’ interest in the fields of structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, and historic preservation. The firm is proud of its internship program which supports students at both the high school and college levels. This summer, Ms. Eleanor Phetteplace of Roger Williams University (RWU) joined GNCB as an intern. Ms. Phetteplace is an Engineering major, with a specialization in civil engineering, and is minoring in both Historic Preservation and in Mathematics. She began her internship in May ( GNCB Welcomes Eleanor Phetteplace ).
While working at GNCB, Ms. Phetteplace was given the opportunity to work with our engineers is all three departments. She was tasked with a wide range of assignments both in and out of the office. As her education and interests lean towards historic preservation, Ms. Phetteplace worked mostly on existing and historic structures where she was responsible for site surveys, condition assessments, structural calculations, writing reports, and drafting. Some of her historic projects included unreinforced masonry mill buildings, timber churches, a caisson foundation lighthouse and several academic buildings.
In addition to working with existing buildings, Ms. Phetteplace worked on new construction projects where she helped create 3D Revit models and determined dead and live loads on bearing walls for the design of spread footings. Additionally, she conducted research on Fall Protection standards in order to participate in the assessment of fall protection systems for a Massachusetts college.
With our geotechnical engineering department, Ms. Phetteplace participated in the soil investigation of a new hotel site in central Massachusetts. As she has not yet taken any soils-related classes, she found this assignment particularly interesting and looks forward to incorporating geotechnical courses into her curriculum as her education continues.
Ms. Phetteplace’s favorite aspects of this internship included gaining knowledge and experience with structures in the field during site surveys and construction administration. She believes that her new skills with Autodesk Revit and Risa-3D will be incredibly beneficial in her future as a structural engineer. She also enjoyed learning about the interaction between design team and construction team members at different project stages.
Amy Jagaczewski, P.E., of GNCB Consulting Engineers, P.C. (GNCB) recently earned her Connecticut Professional Engineer license. She specializes in the investigation, analysis, and rehabilitation of historic structures, and is an active member of the Association for Preservation Technology International .
Ms. Jagaczewski’s work includes religious, cultural, institutional, and commercial projects. Recent projects include the adaptive reuse of Holdredge Garage in Westerly, RI, the reconstruction of St. Michael Church in Pawcatuck, CT, and the stabilization and renovation of the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, CT. She has a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Northeastern University, and an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut.
Phase 2 of the Barnum Museum’s stabilization is underway with GNCB’s recent investigation, documentation, and structural analysis of the building’s 40-foot diameter, timber-framed dome. Phase 1 of the project was completed in 2015 and included restoring the east masonry wall of the structure, rehabilitating the east attic and roof framing, and providing a new mechanical platform in the attic for future MEP upgrades.
Building Description and History - The Barnum Museum was elevated from a State Registered Historic Place to a National Registered Historic Place in 1972. It is a prominent contributor to the Bridgeport Downtown South Historic District. The building was constructed in 1893 at P.T. Barnum’s direction and is an eclectic example of Byzantine and Romanesque architecture. It has a full-depth basement, three floors, and an expansive attic space. The structure consists of unreinforced brick masonry bearing walls and wood-framed floors. A mixture of trusses and domes forms the roof and has been extensively modified throughout the Museum’s history.
The Museum is the only remaining museum dedicated to the life of P.T. Barnum, a fact made even more significant with the closure of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in May 2017. It has suffered from the impact of various natural disasters in recent years including an EF1 tornado in 2010, Hurricane Irene in 2011, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Museum programming is currently relocated to the modern People’s United Bank Gallery at the rear of the original building while stabilization efforts are on-going.
Dome Description (See Figure 1 below) – The Dome of the Barnum Museum is 40 feet in diameter and is approximately 18 feet tall. It consists of four primary, 6-inch x 8-inch ribs and forty-four secondary, 3-inch x 8-inch ribs. The ribs are made up of lapped 1x boards curved and tapered to give the dome its shape. The primary ribs support a timber compression ring at the apex of the dome which in turn supports the secondary ribs. There is also a cupola at the dome’s apex which is supported on the primary and secondary ribs.
The Dome itself is supported with a 5-foot deep, circumferential truss which spans 200 degrees around the base to the brick masonry bearing walls at north and west sides of the dome. The truss is composed of steel hanger rods, timber diagonals and top and bottom chords built-up of curved 1x members similar to the Dome’s ribs. The ribs are anchored to the truss with steel angle “boots.” There is a steel support post at the mid-span of the truss down through the third floor, plywood sheathing on both faces of the circumferential truss, and four, 1-inch diameter tension rods at the base of the dome. These were all attempts to stabilize the structure from continuous settlement throughout its lifespan.
Structural Analysis (See Figures 2-6 below) – GNCB analyzed the Barnum Dome using RISA-3D. Dead loads included the self-weight of the structure and the Spanish clay tile roofing system which will be restored in future project phases. GNCB analyzed the dome for environmental loading including wind and snow which have a substantial effect on the performance of dome-shaped structures due to unbalanced conditions and suction. The model was run with and without enforced displacements at the base of the dome. As shown in Figure 5 , the existing deformation significantly increases the stresses in the ribs beyond the framing’s capacity.
Future Work – GNCB is in the process of designing the rehabilitation scheme for the Barnum Museum’s dome. The scheme will stabilize the structure down to the circumferential truss which is currently shored to prevent further distortion. The remainder of the roof and attic structure will be addressed in one more phase of work prior to the full renovation of the building which will support the Museum’s unique new visitor experience as designed by BRC Imagination Arts .
GNCB attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Sayebrooke Village Elderly Housing Expansion project this month. The project broke ground earlier this year and now contributes an additional 15 units to the highly popular complex on Sheffield Street.
The buildings are a mixture of single- and two-story wood-framed structures on concrete slabs-on-grade. GNCB provide structural engineering and geotechnical engineering services for the project. The expansion was a Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA)-funded project.
Architect: Wiles + Architects
Contractor: Haynes Construction
Ms. Zoe Laird of Ohio has been hired as a Design Engineer at GNCB. Ms. Laird graduated from the University of New Haven (UNH) this May with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering.
As a student, Ms. Laird was an active member of UNH’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Concrete Canoe team, and was a member of the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
Ms. Laird’s senior design project was to design a four-story steel-framed boutique hotel with an underground reinforced concrete parking garage for UNH’s Hospitality and Tourism department. She performed much of the structural analysis and structural design for the building, and performed hand calculations to verify the computer model.
Past work experience includes an internship with the Ashtabula County Engineer’s Office in Jefferson, OH; tutoring entry-level engineering courses at UNH; acting as counselor for Camp GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science) at Ohio Northern University; and several summers at YMCA Camp Fitch holding various positions including Tech Focus Counselor.