As part of a USD 9.3 million expansion of Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Houston, Texas, Pinnacle Engineering designed a cruciform-shaped sanctuary featuring a 42-foot diameter dome adjacent to the existing place of worship. The project required Pinnacle Engineering to maintain clear views of the sanctuary platform, eliminating the use of interior columns within the nave, and allow exterior light to permeate the space. To accommodate these architectural constraints on a tight deadline, Pinnacle Engineering needed a collaborative approach and flexible design and analysis tools.
Pinnacle Engineering reviewed dozens of truss configurations using RAM Elements to determine the most efficient overall design. To keep the nave column-free, the team used a primary roof structural system with glulam beam framing and four intersecting structural steel trusses crisscrossing the nave to support the dome. The trusses spanned 120 feet, with their thinnest portion reduced to just 7 feet in depth where they transitioned from the clerestory area, admitting light into the space, to supporting the dome.
Using Bentley RAM Elements, Pinnacle explored different truss designs under a variety of loading combinations to determine the most cost-effective, elegant design, allowing the architects’ design intent to pass unhindered through to final product. RAM Elements saved time performing detailed analysis and calculations for the hybrid glulam and steel framing system. Collaborating with the steel fabricator early in the design phase accelerated production of structural steel fabrication drawings by almost two months.
The versatility of RAM Elements allowed Pinnacle Engineering to review dozens of potential steel truss designs under a variety of loading combinations resulting in a cost-effective, elegant design solution. The flexibility of Bentley software yielded an unobtrusive truss profile adhering to the architectural intent and visual impact of the space. Despite the hybrid structural steel and glulam framing configuration, RAM Elements enabled Pinnacle Engineering to design the primary gravity and lateral structure of the building in a single model and perform detailed deflection and drift calculations that otherwise would have been more time consuming.