Saluting The Past, Solidifying The Future

Befitting a structure designed as a tribute to the past and a herald of the future, Millennium Gate is under construction in Atlanta to last many generations.

Befitting a structure designed as a tribute to the past and a herald of the future, Millennium Gate is under construction in Atlanta to last many generations. It was first conceived in the late 1990s by designer and philanthropist Rodney Mims Cook, Jr., to add character to Washington, D.C.’s Commodore Barney Circle. When that initiative stalled, Cook directed his endeavors toward his home city of Atlanta, spearheading the effort to create a classical monument to mark the passing of the millennium.

Construction on the project was preceded by renovation of an industrial brownfield Û now a thriving neighborhood in downtown Atlanta, known as Atlantic Station Û to create a prime location for the monument. Today, the construction site sits on the edge of a park adjacent to Atlantic Station.

Adapted from drawings for the original design competition, monument plans call for a 73-ft.-tall classical arch flanked by two 24-ft.-tall pylons topped with sculptures of Greek goddesses of peace and justice. The arch exterior will feature a fa¡ade by sculptor Alexander Stoddardt portraying mankind’s accomplishments over the past 2,000 years. Beneath the arch (echoing the Washington Square Arch in New York City and the Wellington Arch in London) will be a public park, and the interior will house gallery space showcasing art and history exhibits. Two six-story elevator and stair shafts will take visitors to the arch’s roof terrace and conservatory.

Construction on the $18 million monument officially began in 2005, when the two Greek statues were shipped from Savannah via a Percheron-drawn caisson, which was led by a brass band and bagpipers to the construction site. The project’s general contractor, New South Construction, selected Precision Concrete Construction to build concrete substructures for the arch and pylons. Recognizing that the monument’s complexity would necessitate a variety of formwork, Precision in turn enlisted Doka USA to supply six of its proprietary formwork products.

Several factors dictated the decision to use Doka’s Top 50 formwork system for Millennium Gate construction. Precision Concrete Field Operations Manager John Galasso, Sr., explains, To meet project requirements for an as-cast finish inside the tower and American Concrete Institute (ACI) vertical tolerance for walls less than 100 feet, we felt that the Top 50 system with MF 240 platforms would offer best results and provide employees with the safest working environment.

Foundation walls were built using 4,000 square feet of Framax formwork, while column forms required 1,500 square feet of Frami Universal panels. Precision Concrete also used 10,000 square feet of 10k shoring, along with the Dokaflex shoring system to handle four elevated floor slabs and beams of differing heights. Twelve MF240 rollback platforms on the shear wall exteriors ensured job-site safety by giving crews sufficient room to maneuver safely and efficiently.

To provide the Class A finish required by the project’s considerable exposed concrete, Top 50 formwork totalling 8,000 square feet was used in casting shear walls for the elevator and stairs. Preassembling the gangwork before shipment enabled Doka to accommodate tight job-site conditions. Due to their light weight, the assembled Top 50 forms were placed with a small, portable tower crane. Transition pieces attached to the end of the Top 50 gangs in conjunction with Framax bias-cut stripping corners allowed workers to keep inside formwork gangs plumb and square throughout vertical lifts.