Pumping Up World’s Largest Guitar Building
The new show stopper at the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino near Hollywood, Florida is nothing short of the only guitar building in the world. Baker Concrete Construction, Inc, with headquarters in Monroe, OH, and joint venture partner Liberty Conshor, Inc., Bonita Springs are constructing the iconic building with a complete concrete pumping and placing system supplied by Cherokee Pumping of Florida, LLC operating out of Fort Lauderdale. Baker, the largest specialty concrete contractor in the U.S,, is celebrating 50 years in business this year. “It will be the first building in the world that’s truly to scale designed as an authentic guitar,” James Allen, Seminole Gaming CEO and chairman of Hard Rock International says. “So it’s not just an exterior façade, the curving of the building will be identical to an authentic guitar.”
The giant 450-foot tall guitar tower will be the centerpiece of one of the world’s most elaborate casino complexes. The popular venue is undergoing an expansion that will double the size of the gaming area while adding 60,000 square feet of retail including restaurants and a theatre. The expansion of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will open in mid-2019, in advance of Super Bowl LIV at nearby Hard Rock Stadium.
Designed to resemble back-to-back guitars, with guitar faces, necks and brightly lit guitar strings, the unique tower is a cast-in-place concrete structure that will contain 638 hotel rooms and suites—doubling the Seminole Hard Rock’s total number of rooms—in addition to a 41,000-square-foot spa, and several restaurants.
The tower is one of six concrete packages that Baker is pumping, placing and finishing on the $1.5 billion construction project. “We came on site about one year ago, “ explains Elianne Klein, Baker’s assistant project manager on the project, “With aggressive production we are two months ahead of schedule.”
The guitar tower is supported by 237 cast-in-place piles topped with a slab. Baker’s involvement started by installing a climbing form system to pour the core, floors and columns. Cherokee is using a combination of an SP 8800 Schwing stationary concrete pump and Schwing SPB 37 separate placing boom to achieve the pumping schedule expected by the Baker team.
According to Rudy Rivero, Cherokee’s pumping manager in Florida, “We installed the separate placing boom starting at level four.” The placing boom is mounted to the self-climbing form system utilizing a cross frame with a 4-meter octagonal mast section. The elevation of the separate placing boom above the forms allows core pours, decks and columns to be pumped from an elevated vantage point. The octagonal mast allows accessories including ladders, pipeline holders, and a work platform to be easily added utilizing brackets integrated in the mast.
The shape of the guitar creates widely different floor sizes from the seventh floor at 26,000 square feet to the highest floor at 2600 square feet. The width of the structure is 66.5-feet allowing for hotel rooms on both sides of the guitar and a central corridor. “By positioning the separate place boom on the north core wall forming system we are able to reach most of the decks with the boom’s 119-foot horizontal reach,” according to Rivero. The four-section roll and fold boom uses a proportional Vector wireless remote control for precise placement and operator mobility.
The SP 8800 is a high horsepower, high pressure all-hydraulic stationary pump equipped with a dual cylinder high pressure Rock Valve producing maximum concrete output of 152 cubic yards/hour. The machine has high volume and high-pressure capabilities depending on job site requirements. “We have not had any problems meeting production requirements,” states Rivero. Crews begin placing at 3:00 a.m. in order to guarantee a regular supply of truck mixers in the busy South Florida construction environment. “After the slabs are poured, the crews are usually pouring verticals around two in the afternoon.” Mix designs include 7200 psi concrete on the slabs and 10,000 psi on the verticals up to the 18th floor. More than 36,000 cubic yards will be pumped on the project.
“The project looks more intimidating than it really is, “ Klein notes, “Our crews have honed their techniques to pour the sloped columns and consistently improved production as the project progressed.” Individual pours consumed up to 500 cubic yards and the Baker crew was able to average one floor per week. “From the owners to the general contractor and all of our co-workers on the job, it is once-in-a-lifetime experience to be involved in such a unique building,” Klein adds. The structure is expected be topped out early this summer.
“Our ancestors and elders welcomed curious tourists to our Florida reservations, and today’s members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida will soon welcome visitors from all over the world to what will become a landmark destination,” said Seminole Tribe Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr. “Our guitar tower will attract global attention.” The Seminoles originally licensed the rights to the Hard Rock name at their Hollywood and Tampa Hard Rock casinos 2004. In 2006 the tribe purchased the entire Hard Rock company with venues in 75 countries.
Owner: Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida, Hollywood, FL
General Contractor: Suffolk Yates, Joint Venture, West Palm Beach, FL
Architect: Klai Juba Wald Architects, Las Vegas, NV
Engineer: DeSimone, Miami, FL
Concrete Contractor: Liberty Baker, Joint Venture, Estero, FL
Concrete Pumper: Cherokee Pumping of Florida, LLC , Fort Lauderdale, FL