Case Study: Lone Survivor Retreat

PROJECT NAME:
Lone Survivor Retreat Facility

LOCATION:
Crystal Beach, TX

COMPLETION DATE:
February 2015

OWNER:
Lone Survivor Foundation

BUILDER:
BRINT Construction

ENGINEER:
Aran & Franklin Engineering

When the Lone Survivor Foundation set out to design a retreat that honors both the service and needs of healing soldiers, a pentagon shape provided a fitting nod to the U.S. Armed Forces’ most recognizable symbol. But the unique design of the two-story Soldier Bunk House also presented a number of challenges for the design and engineering team, hurdles that were further complicated by the home’s location in Crystal Beach, Texas, where construction on piers is required. Engineers Chandra Franklin Womack, P.E., and Rachel Riley, E.I.T., both of Aran & Franklin Engineering, opted to move from traditional 2x dimension lumber to treated glulam beams from APA-member Anthony Forest Products Company because of the limited capacities of dimension lumber. The treated glulam serves as the stringers around the perimeter, with a multitude of beams supporting the center of the house, left open to allow for parking below. The custom, thinner stringers were made with 5-1/2-inch glulam beams resawn in half to a finished width of 2-7/16 inches. All glulam beams in the structure were engineered and designed with the manufacturer’s software. The long-span capabilities of the glulam helped the engineer reduce the number of piles and design the piers in a simple grid pattern, thereby reducing point loading and opening up more room under the house. The obtuse interior angles dictated by the pentagon shape and limitations on

The obtuse interior angles dictated by the pentagon shape and limitations on notching of beams would have necessitated the use of more pilings had they chosen dimension lumber. “With this shape, you can’t just straight frame the second floor,” Womack says. Trusses couldn’t span the whole length of the floor, so beams were required, but the pentagonal shape created point loads. Engineers used dimension lumber to frame the ceiling of the second floor even with the sharp angles and the unconventional floor plan.

 

Design for a Cause

Along with the overall design and the role of the wood framing, the home features a range of elements to better serve its visitors. The retreat house in Crystal Beach is part of the Lone Survivor Foundation’s mission to provide holistic healing for soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other illnesses associated with combat. Thoughtful design elements ensure comfort and safety, including ADA compliance throughout, a robust elevator, expanded foam insulation to cut down on outside noise, fenced-in acreage to accommodate service animals and improve privacy, and a fire pit for nightly discussions. Special touches include military artwork throughout the house, a memorial brick walk around the fire pit, and flagpoles with the American flag, the Texas state flag, and the Lone Survivor flag.

Case study published with permission by APA Wood, Form R115.

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