Project Close-Up: Grand Solmar

An Innovative Project in a Spectacular Place

On Baja California’s southernmost tip, a granite mountain crashes into the Pacific Ocean. This is the site for the majestic Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort and Spa, located in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. From the magnificent ocean side infinity pools to the breathtaking ocean views, this entire development feels like an oasis. Building such a luxurious facility presented some unique and stimulating challenges.

DCI was brought into this project during Phase 2 of the construction which included, a six story and an eight story concrete building of 71,000–sf and 29,000-sf respectively. One particularly challenging aspect of this building was that the room types and wall layouts changed significantly from floor to floor. This resulted in a variety of transfer elements. DCI collaborated with the Architect, Owner, and Contractor to specify a mild-reinforced, flat slab solution. This solution accommodated the transfer requirements, while allowing for the use of flying forms. This stream lined labor, reduced construction schedule, and minimized waste.

One challenge we overcame was the requirement that the construction documents be produced in Spanish. DCI’s bilingual staff was able to solve communication problems before they arose by producing documentation in both the construction team’s native tongue and by converting all units to metric.

Key Lessons for South of the Border:

  1. .Don’t be afraid of mild reinforced concrete: A common solution in the United States would have been post tensioned concrete. However, after taking into account factors such as the frequency of transfer beams, the cost savings from “flying forms”, and the local experience, mild reinforced slabs were established as a much more cost effective option.
  2. .Need to accomodate a massive stone veneer? Use CMU infill walls: The architectural finish for many of the lower floors consisted of stone veneer of up to 12 inches thickness. Cold form steel studs or wood studs would not have been sufficient to support this load, concrete masonry units (CMU) did the trick.
  3. Gabled concrete slab roof easily resists uplift: A serious concern on any heavily exposed structure is uplift from wind loading. Typically handled through strapping and drag members, the roof structure on Gran Solmar consisted of gabled pitched sloped mild reinforced concrete slabs. The robustness of the concrete minimized deflection concerns while the weight eliminated the need for much of the strapping.

Our structural engineers in the Austin office have been working closely with HKS Architects, TBG Landscape Architects, and the Grand Solmar design team to ensure the quality of this project matched the beauty of the surrounding. Design work has already begun on the last building of Phase II, and we’re looking forward to upcoming projects on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas. Maybe next time we’ll experience it from underneath a beach umbrella rather than a hard hat.

To learn more about this innovative and spectacular project, click here.

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