Cincinnati Firm Thrives by Doing Complex Building Projects Including the Ascent in Northern Kentucky

It's not often that you hear about a firm looking to find the most challenging projects possible, but that is exactly what Cincinnati-based THP Limited does.  The architecture and engineering firm not only prefers those types of projects, but they thrive on them earning industry awards for major projects like The Ascent at Roebling's Bridge in Covington.

"The Ascent was a very unique and complex building, and one of the things we worked on from the beginning is whether or not the building would lean," explained Shayne Manning, Project Manager & Principal-in-Charge on The Ascent project.  "What we did was lean the columns to follow the skin of the building which has resulted in every floor being different within."

The leaning columns found within The Ascent differ from another prominent Cincinnati project THP was involved with on the University of Cincinnati's campus.  At the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, the columns are vertical and the walls bend - leaving a gap in between the columns and the building's skin - something not seen as being desirable for a high-end residential condo building.

The shape of The Ascent also challenged THP as they worked with the winds found within the Ohio River Valley.  The firm had to conduct wind tunnel studies on the free-form building design to ensure its stability during unpredictable weather events.

The result of the free-form building design is a dramatic roof that slopes from the 11th Floor of the building to its pinnacle.  The 34-degree slope ascends vertically 160 feet and allows for nine penthouse terraces that bisect the roof.

The work was not only challenging for THP, but rewarding as well.  The firm picked up the Grand Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) in 2009, and another award in the category of Residential Buildings from the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CSRI) in March 2010.

"The inherently flexible properties of reinforced concrete enables professionals to express their unique vision in building and bridge projects," stated Bob Risser, CRSI President.  "The CRSI Design Awards program recognizes designers for their creativity in using this great material."

THP has recently been tapped for the $100 million Music Hall renovation project in historic Over-the-Rhine and plans to begin its initial survey work in July 2010, with an expectation of approximately two years worth of work before completion.  THP will be working with Cincinnati-based GBBN Architects and New York-based Polsheck Partnership Architects which worked on the renovation of New York City's Carnegie Hall.

"These awards and these projects are very much a source of pride because we like to be involved with complex structures," Manning concluded.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy
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