Structural Engineering of “The Bird Tail” at Buddy Holly Hall

Category: Engineering

Written By: Nicole McBride

Date: December 23, 2020

Structural Engineering of “The Bird Tail” at Buddy Holly Hall cover image

Buddy Holly Hall has required the structural engineering expertise that complements the architectural expertise of the many design professionals involved in the project. Parkhill's structural team completed the design and construction supervision of “The Bird Tail,” one of the notable engineering feats of this project. This feature is located on the east side of the facility.

The biggest challenge of "The Bird Tail" was designing the shape of the concrete while limiting the vertical and horizontal movement from the weight of the concrete. The splayed columns, located toward the middle, have varied slope directions and cantilevered edges that compound movement. While the mass of the concrete added to the challenge, the stiffness of the concrete helped with the issues that could arise in the movement.

Another challenge was to fit the amount of rebar in the deck but still allow the concrete to fit in between the individual bars. In all, the columns, deck and foundations of the bird tail included over 500 cubic yards of concrete, weighing over 2 million pounds.


A form for one of the splayed columns


Several layers of rebar inside the concrete structure


The “Bird Tail” before installation of rebar


“The Bird Tail” was designed by Parkhill's Structural Team.


The splayed columns required careful structural engineering design.


“The Bird Tail“ is located on the east side of Buddy Holly Hall.