Designed by international architecture firm Snøhetta, the LEED Gold-certified Moss Arts Center is the multicultural nexus of Virginia Tech’s campus. Completed in 2013, the $100 million complex houses a 1,300-seat performance hall, performance lab known as the Cube, visual arts gallery, research studios and support spaces. The project encompassed 91,992 sf of new construction and 55,390 sf of renovations to Shultz Hall.

The new building is a combination of cast-in-place concrete and steel. Due to the high variability of rock depths and quality, and the presence of very soft soil and high groundwater conditions, Schnabel recommended supporting the major structural columns on drilled shafts socketed into the brecciated and hard rock beneath the site.

In response to the presence of relatively shallow groundwater in the area of the 40-foot deep orchestra pit, we consulted on the selection of a ground improvement method for limiting groundwater infiltration into the excavation. Deep soil mixing was ultimately used to control the groundwater flow. Earth pressures for below-grade walls and permanent subdrainage were among the other geotechnical challenges we encountered and addressed.

During construction, we provided special inspections per state building code requirements, including evaluation of drilled shaft lengths; observation and testing of concrete, structural steel, and masonry elements; and observation of sprayed-on fireproofing, roofing, and exterior insulation finishing system components.

© Jeff Goldberg / Esto