How do you build over the water - safely and cost effectively?

Smith LaRock Architecture was approached by a repeat client –  a major West Coast Refining Company, to collaborate on a strategy to design and construct a new control building.  The wharf expansion was underway and a solution was needed quickly.  Major concerns for the client were safety and security risks for building over water and the coastline.  Environmental regulations, electrically classified areas, and the several hundred yard walk to the site location increased costs significantly.  How could the design and engineering approach offset these hurdles?  See how we approached a whole new box design…

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The Problem:

An offloading/ onloading wharf extension project needed a control building.  But the wharf platform wasn’t completed.  It was too costly to stick build over the water with maritime safety procedures and security risks.

The Solution:

Get creative – sometimes solving a problem mean defining the problem in a different way.  Let’s fabricate and assemble the building on land, put it on some wheels to move it to the water.  Then use a large barge-crane to pick it up, move it down stream and drop it in place.  Simple.


Smith LaRock Architecture was invited by a major West coast refining company to collaborate on a strategy to design and ultimately construct a new control building for their wharf/ terminal expansion project.

It seemed like the “box” everyone was using to create ideas was too confining.  A simple, basic, and efficient solution was nowhere in sight.  A solution needed a different perspective and new paradigm.

Light bulbs turned on…SLA convinced the client to construct the building on land where it was safer and less costly to build directly on the water and wharf.  The pick the building up and move it.

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