Walter E. Washington Convention Center
At 2.3 million square-feet, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center is the District of Columbia’s largest building. It spans six blocks, a distance of close to six football fields set end-to-end. The massive project was completed on a fast-track, 44-month schedule.
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center offers approximately 725,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, 150,000 square feet of meeting rooms and a 70,000 square-foot ballroom. A central plant provides enough power to support a town of 7,500 and emergency power to support 300 homes, which was the most electrical power per square foot of any convention center in the U.S. at the time.
The Clark team faced a variety of challenges while completing the construction of the project on the aggressive schedule. They constructed steel bridges to span the existing streets, relocated utilities, and completed a tie-in to the existing Metro subway station. The project is located in a busy urban area, so careful coordination efforts were implemented to ensure minimal disruption to the local traffic patterns. Community meetings kept local residents and business owners abreast of planned activities.
Clark Foundations implemented the largest excavation in the western hemisphere at the time by removing 1.6 million tons of earth. For more than a year, 1,000 truckloads of earth were removed from the site each day. The foundation featured 225,000 square-feet of slurry wall, which was the largest ever constructed in the Metropolitan Washington area. The three-foot wide slurry wall was required to: minimize the movement of an existing historical structure at the northeast side of the project site; minimize the movement of an active WMATA tunnel located within 16 feet of the excavation; and act as a cutoff wall to minimize contaminated water discharge.