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  • TPA Design Group

How Subsurface Conditions Dictate Above Ground Construction

When Yale's University Properties sought to expand its restaurant offerings in the Broadway district, it quickly realized that it could not accommodate such a use within existing buildings that it owned. However, it had recently acquired a long-term lease for the middle island and thus sought to develop a modest food service kiosk somewhere on it.

TPA was engaged to provide utility location and storm drainage design services for the kiosk. Preliminary review of as-built plans indicated that several utility mains and numerous service laterals might be located under the Broadway island. With the help of ground penetrating radar, the locations of subsurface pipes and conduits were field marked for survey by Clarence Blair Associates. Consultation with affected utility companies indicated the safe operating distance required for foundation excavation. The resulting information was then used to provide the architect Martin Benassi with possible envelopes within which the kiosk could be safely built.

TPA also provided design of stormwater galleries and consultation for the design of sanitary sewers. The roof of the kiosk is tied into a subsurface gallery system which was located by TPA to minimize conflicts with the street lighting circuit. During construction, an alternate connection to the sanitary sewer main was designed due to the unexpected depth encountered.

Today, the kiosk is home to the popular Crêpes Choupette, offering Yale students and visitors a place to grab a quick bite as well as sit in the shade of the picnic tables. Few will probably realize that the curious angle of the building is related to the numerous utilities that run underneath their feet.

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