VIVO Apartments

Cambridge, MA

Designers faced a major challenge when planning the new 8-story, 88,883-square-foot VIVO Apartments in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The project was to be steel-framed using 88,000 square feet of precast concrete hollowcore plank and utilizing a non-typical “Girder-Slab” structural system.

The girder-slab system relies on the precast plank—armed with additional prestressing and heavy embed plate assemblies—to transfer horizontal diaphragm cord and shear forces to the steel frame.

“This was a new system for us and also for the client,” says Frank Valdes, Associate Principal at DiMella-Shaffer, and architect for the project, “but it was very well accepted. It’s an interesting system. It’s steel construction with prefabricated concrete planks. The benefit is that it really saves you on schedule because you’re not pouring concrete for the floors. You’re using these precast concrete planks for the floors and they also act as the ceiling for the unit below. The planks are 10-inches deep. We could actually leave them exposed and they gave us the acoustics [STC 50] necessary between units.”

Read More

Projects details

  • PrecasterJ.P. Carrara and Sons Inc., Middlebury, VT

  • OwnerAimco, Denver, CO

  • ArchitectDiMella-Shaffer, Boston, MA

  • Structural EngineerODEH Engineers, North Providence, RI

  • ContractorGilbane Building Company, Providence, RI


  • 8,883 (residential and retail)

  • 88,000 (precast concrete hollowcore plank)

  • Levels/Floors: 8-story

  • 502 pieces of precast concrete hollowcore (8-in thick and 8-ft wide, and 21 to 32-ft long).

  • 88,000 square feet of hollowcore in all.