National Veterans Memorial Museum

Owner: Columbus Downtown Development Corporation

Architect: Allied Works Architecture, Inc.
Engineer: Knippers Helbig
Construction Manager: Turner Construction Company
Concrete Contractor: Baker Concrete
Rebar Producer: Gerdau
Rebar Fabricator: Gerdau
Rebar Placer: Titan Steel
Project Cost: $75 Million
Total Concrete Yards: 28 Million Pounds
Reinforcing Tons: 986


The building is two stories tall with a total height of about 60 feet. The area of the building is about 53,000 square feet. The architectural concept is closely integrated with the structural design. A series of intertwined reinforced concrete rings supports the roof as a visible design element. A ramp winds its way up to the roof of the building, where a gathering place is located. The roof and floor systems are structural steel frames with composite steel floors and beams. The ramp is executed as a T-beam construction. The rings were designed as site-cast concrete-construction with architecturally demanding fair-faced concrete surfaces. The poor soil condition implied a deep pile foundation. Lateral stiffness is provided by the stiff inner ring, which functions as a central concrete core as well as the diagonal geometry of the middle and outer rings.


The building’s key feature of intersecting arches takes an ancient structural form and re-adapts it as a primarily visual element, which must still perform a structural role. In that process, these arches have also now become architectural statements, with various concerns about aesthetic, program and interior space coming into play. The arches at the National Veterans Memorial Musuem (NVMM) are bent and wrapped around the perimeter of the building, resulting in freeform geometries and structural behaviors which are quite different from those seen in conventional planar structural arches.

As a result of the complex interaction between adjacent elements, the interconnectivity of all the arches becomes necessary for the structural system as a whole. The intersection locations, while architecturally quite simple, also presented an engineering puzzle to solve with high precision, not just in analysis, but also in detailing and construction of the site-cast concrete. Through careful analysis and close collaboration with the design team, Knippers Helbig was able to achieve the long spans and unusual intersections of these elements, which perform both visual and structural roles throughout the museum.