Next Up: The Fontainebleau

Staff | September 28, 2010

The latest glitzy, high-end resort going up on the rapidly expanding north end of the Las Vegas Strip has a familiar name — Fontainebleau. The $2.8-billion resort is the first project in a planned global campaign to bring the glamour of Miami's legendary Fontainebleau Hotel to a slew of properties around the world. Under the direction of developer Turnberry & Associates, which is heading up the Fontainebleau Resorts brand, the 3,889-room, 63-story tower will feature hotel rooms, condominiums and a 100,000-square-foot casino, along with the typical Las Vegas trappings of sleek nightclubs, celebrity chefs and a luxurious spa. The building's architecture will mirror the postmodern style of the original Fontainebleau, designed by Morris Lapidus in the early 1950s, but will have a 21st century update in the form of LEED-certified green design.

For the Fontainebleau project on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, concrete contractor Colasanti Specialty Services is using Doka USA formwork for all three of the casino resort’s major components: the 725-foot-tall tower, a garage and nine cores within the podium. Here Framax forms are in use as the central tower begins to rise.

Based on the company's success with previous casino projects, concrete contractor Colasanti Specialty Services selected Doka USA to provide formwork for all three of the project's major components: the 725-foot-tall tower, a garage and nine cores within the podium. In spring 2007, 94,000 square feet of Framax formwork was delivered to the job site to create the tower foundation and main core (including two stair cores and one elevator core), the garage foundation walls and the podium cores. To accommodate varying heights on the first five levels of the tower, Doka used 68,000 square feet of Framax for the structure's initial pours, then switched to the Top 50 large-area formwork system to create the building's main 63 levels. The ability to meet both of these needs with a single supplier also helped reduce labor.

To construct the podium cores — which serve as an evacuation route in case of an emergency — Doka is using custom stripping corners, hinged plates and custom rollers. Changing elevations within the podiums present many challenges. Doka also supplied the tapered spud to support the Top 50 formwork during the slab pour. This allowed the contractor to set the "close-up" side before the slab was poured.

"Doka was instrumental in helping us achieve a successful changeover from non-typical to typical floor heights," said Paul Eberhard, superintendent with Colasanti Specialty Services. "We changed from the modular Framax system to Doka's Top 50 formwork with much success due to the foresight of the engineering design to accept both systems and Doka's field personnel. Our success has continued with the use of spuds to help pre-set our close-up panels prior to our slab pours. This allows us to pour slabs and vertical construction on the same day. With Doka's technology, engineering and support, we look forward to a successful job."

"The strong relationship between the Doka and Colasanti teams has resulted in a successful start to the two-year project," said Todd Solar, Doka account manager. "Other success factors include preconstruction planning involving both Doka and Colasanti, continuous review and implementation of design changes, on-site field support, and excellent communication throughout both organizations."

Scheduled to open in fall 2009, this structure that takes its cues from the past clearly has its eye on the future. The Fontainebleau is on the leading edge of a trend away from the themed hotels that have characterized the Las Vegas strip in recent decades, and toward more architecturally driven buildings that will lend the city an air of urban sophistication.