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Richard Filloramo 1, Mack Scogin2, Jennifer Pindyck3, Michael Filisky4, David Biggs5

Industry codes and standards provide prescriptive and engineering design requirements for
typical masonry construction. These requirements, especially prescriptive requirements, can
be somewhat conservative and limiting when designing atypical masonry buildings. Todays
contemporary architecture demands masonry engineering and construction to reach out
beyond limiting boundaries. This paper will explore brick veneer design and construction
beyond code boundaries with a case study of the new Yale University Health Services
Building (YUHS) in New Haven, Connecticut. The university selected the architect based
upon an architectural competition.

The brick veneer and light gage steel supporting structure exceeds prescriptive and
engineering standards for corbels, rakes, projections and the most basic rationale for anchor
design. The building is comprised of sloping walls with varying angles, angles which vary
within the same wall plane creating subtle cascading sweeping walls. Several different veneer
tie systems and shelf angles details had to be coordinated with the structural frame and the
architectural components of the building.

Unique construction procedures were created in order to build elements of the brick masonry
veneer. The mason contractor responded with some unique construction tools and methods.
This paper will explore the architecture, engineering and construction of one of the most
unique and contemporary brick masonry veneer buildings in the world.

Keywords: Brick, veneer, engineered, codes, standards

Director of Market Development & Technical Services - International Masonry Institute, 78 Eastern Blvd., Suite
201,Glastonbury, CT 06033,
2 3 4
Partner, Project Manager, Project Designer - Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, 111 Wesley Dobbs
Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA, 30303,
Consultant to Ryan-Biggs Associates; Biggs Consulting Engineering, 740 Hoosick Road, Troy, NY 12180,
Architectural Masonry
The YUHS provides medical services to the students, faculty and staff. The program consists
of a 147,000 square foot (13,657 m2) building with approximately 850 rooms required to
house sixteen clinical departments, an inpatient facility with seventeen beds, seven
administrative departments, a pharmacy, and campus meeting facilities. The building shares
the trapezoidal-shaped site with the Rose Center/University Police and a 323-car parking
garage/security station.

The unique nature of the project was derived from the performance requirements of both the
site and the program. The combination of the three buildings on the block creates a
reinterpretation of the traditional, interiorized Yale campus block. This allowed for both
pedestrian and automobile passage easily into and through the site, a thoroughly
contemporary campus block condition. The new pedestrian passage provides the northern
link between the east and west campus (See Figure 1, bottom right).

Figure 1. (left) Floor Plan, (right) Building Photographs - Images Timothy Hursley.

The block arrangement allows for visual/physical access between and around all buildings, an
important security measure (Figure 2). Furthermore, the building's position on the site's
southern corner provides visual access to and from the campus along a main access route. In
placing YUHS on the southeast portion of the block, the building plan was able to take on a
triangular shape. This shape provides a generous perimeter wall to floor area ratio, a
condition favorable to maximizing daylight into the building interior. The triangular plan shape
with a centralized vertical transportation core is extremely compact and efficient. The main
circulation patterns are clear and identifiable allowing for ease of navigation and clarity of
identity. In addition to the perimeter walls, daylight and views are introduced by deep
horizontal cuts into the plan and by vertical light wells, features not typical to a building of this
program typology. Additionally, the building form, with its soft edges in both plan and section,
addresses a sensuous, less institutional impulse.

Figure 2. Yale Health Service block illustrated site views as well as pedestrian paths and
site circulation.

Masonry Selection

The University has a long tradition of masonry structures throughout the campus. However,
the design team investigated several options for the exterior skin of the building: brick, glazing
and metal panel. While the form of the building is reminiscent of the more modern structures
on campus (Ingalls Rink, Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges, Rudolph Hall), the skin of the
building identifies with earlier structures. Texture and depth of wall coupled with large, light,
glazing areas are dominant features of the University context and these elements became
inherent in order to link this connector site with the campus. The small modular unit of the
brick allowed for the complex non-linear, warping geometries to be formed using a
segmented, linear backup structure. The small units of brick were able to smooth the
transition from geometry to geometry and allow for curved and canting forms to be achieved.

To create a wall with texture as well as visual depth, a special bullnose shaped brick was
designed (Figure 3) to be used in conjunction with a standard modular unit. A custom dye
was fabricated to extrude the atypical shape at the brick plant. 314,000 bullnose units were
produced and were laid as alternating courses to the standard modular courses to give the
wall its unique texture.
Figure 3. (left) Special Bullnose brick extruded at masonry plant. (right) Bullnose brick

It should be noted that the design team investigated the use of precast concrete panels with a
brick facing, but several issues arose: the added weight on the superstructure; the irregularity
of the form of the skin did not allow for efficient mold making during production; and the
precast panels would require large expansion joints between panels, breaking the unity of the

Process and Delivery

Initial form studies of the buildings exterior were investigated by building several physical
models (Figure 4). As the design progressed, physical modeling gave way to computer
modeling utilizing Rhinoceros V4.0 (Rhinoceros 2010), which is a NURBS based 3D modeling

Extensive computer modeling during the competition and schematic design phases was done
to arrive at the desired form of the exterior skin. Several iterations were studied through 3D
sketch, or working models. Once the desired form was reached, a master model of the
skin was made.

Figure 4. Conceptual form models.

The master model consisted of a series of planes that represented the brick face of the
building. This skin model served as the 3D template from which all members of the
architectural team used to design, locate, and coordinate the elements of the buildings
exterior, including the masonry and glazing components. Vertical cuts were extracted from
the model and used as templates for wall sections and details for the Design and
Construction Documents. Quantitative information such as masonry takeoffs, angles of wall
planes, and the number and angles of masonry corners were also extracted from the master
model. The 3D model was not only used to coordinate and detail the masonry skin, but it also
proved to be valuable tool to communicate and clarify the buildings complex exterior to the
contractors. An example of this can be seen in Figure 5, which is one of the graphics created
from the master model showing the wall angles of the buildings exterior.

Figure 5. (a, top left) 3D model representing angles of wall; (b, top right) constructed wall;
(c, bottom) wall angle typologies.

Each color in Figures 5a and 5c represents a different set of sloped wall angles. Figure 5a
was produced by cutting vertical sections through the master model at every 5-0 (1.52 m) on
center, and grouping these wall angles in increments of 5 degrees. This was done to
demystify the shape of the building as well as convey to the General Contractor, the cold-
formed metal framing contractor, and the masonry contractor, the location and angles of all
sloping walls.

Crucial to the detailing and coordination of the building exterior was the coursing of the
master model. The skin surfaces in the 3D master model were sliced horizontally every 2-
5/8 (2-1/4 brick + 3/8 mortar joint) (6.67 cm) to mimic masonry coursing. These horizontal
coursing slices were then translated into a 2D AutoCAD drawing (Figure 6).
Veneer of
brick and

Figure 6. 2D coursing drawing extracted from 3D model.

All elements related to the exterior masonry veneer were located and coordinated based on
this coursing drawing. This included heights of window and curtain wall rough openings, and
heights of exterior masonry wall parapets. Heights of all miscellaneous steel related to the
masonry veneer, such as the WT supports at the floor slabs, relieving angles above windows
and curtain walls, relieving angles at building soffits, and back-up tube steel supports at
curtain wall openings and building overhangs were also coordinated per these coursing
drawings and the 3D model.

Engineering Challenges
Within Chapter 6 of the masonry standard (MSJC 2002), there are two options for anchored
veneer design, Prescriptive and Alternate. Most designers use the Prescriptive requirements
because they are rather straightforward and primarily detail oriented. However, there are
limitations on the maximum basic wind speed and the building height. Relative to maximum
basic wind speed, the standard anchorage requirements apply only for a basic wind speed
less than 110 mph (177 kph). For buildings with a mean roof height less than 60 feet, the
anchorage requirements can be used above 110 MPH (177 kph) and less than 130 MPH (209
kph) provided their maximum spacing is reduced by 30 percent.
By code, the basic wind speed is 110 mph (177 kph). New Haven is a coastal city in
Connecticut on the Long Island Sound (Figure 7). The building height exceeds 60 feet.

For this project, the Design Criteria

Building Code: 2005 Connecticut
State Building code based
upon 2003 IBC.
Loading standard: ASCE 7-02
Masonry standard: ACI 530-02
Wind loadings for components and
cladding: 26 psf (1.24 kN/m2) in
N pressure; suction was 27 psf (1.29
kN/m2) in the field of the walls and 45 psf
2.15 kN/m2) at the corners.
Seismic design category: SDC B

Figure 7. Location.

The anchored veneer system provided several design challenges for the sloping veneer.
Using Prescriptive requirements, the masonry standard limits veneer corbelling to one-half
the veneer thickness (Figure 8). For this project, that would have been 1-7/8 inches (48 mm).
Yet, the sloping walls required a maximum of 82 inches (2.08m) of sloped offset over one
story height (Figure 9). Thus, Prescriptive requirements apply to the plumb walls, but not to
the sloping walls. An engineered solution was required and the following discussion
addresses two specific aspects of the engineered wall system.

Mortar and Veneer Anchorage

The walls are supported by the structure. For vertical (plumb) walls, the dead load does not
create a lateral stress on the mortar bond or the anchorage system. For sloping walls, the
dead load component of the veneer causes a constant dead load lateral stress on both the
mortar and the anchorage system (Figure 10).

For walls detailed by Prescriptive requirements, mortar bond is not specifically addressed.
Masonry standards do not provide either a means for determining the flexural bond strength
or the magnitude of the bond strength between units and the veneer anchor. The engineer
must make those decisions for engineered systems. For this project, the design bond
strength was set as 50 psi (345 kPa). Various mortar mixtures (ASTM C270, Proportions
Method) were evaluated using the bond wrench test (ASTM C1072) with sample brick
wallettes. The mortar mixtures tested included only Portland cement and lime mixes, with
and without admixtures intended to improve bond. The testing and results are not discussed
here, but the best results were achieved without bonding agents. Type N and S mortar were
acceptable and Type S was chosen.

Figure 8. Veneer corbeling detail from Sloped

MSJC 2005, Chapter 1. offset per

Figure 9. Sloped wall.

For the sloping walls, the veneer anchorage system is in a constant state of tension at
outward sloping veneers and compression at inward sloping walls. One concern about the
constant stress was that, over time, mortar deterioration would compromise the anchorage of
the veneer. Figure 10 shows the typical two-legged brick tie with the legs bent vertically and
mortared into the cores of the brick. This solution is comparable to a stone panel anchor
whereby the tie is mechanically attached to a slot in the edge of a stone panel. Future mortar
repointing of the joints should not affect the tie. Figure 10 does not show the exact
configuration of the brick; see Figure 13 later.
The outward sloping walls have a cove on the inside of the mortar joints to facilitate drainage
within the cavity downward to the weeps (Figure 10). The cavities are not vented; the intent
was to minimize potential access points for moisture.

to the veneer.

Component in-plane
of the veneer.

Vertical load of
the veneer.

Figure 10. Anchor and veneer loads.

For the plumb walls, the anchors to the cold-formed metal framing use standard face
mounted anchors screwed to the studs. For the sloping walls, a side-plate system (FERO
2010) is used rather than the face-mounted system. The side mounted anchors avoid placing
the screws on the face of the studs in tension withdrawal when used on outward sloping
walls. For long-term durability, all anchors are stainless steel. The side-mounted anchors
have a coating to isolate them from the galvanized framing.

Cold-formed Metal Framing

The controlling allowable stress (ASD) load cases for design of the cold-formed metal framing
were: D + W (pressure); D - W (suction), D + 0.7E (pressure), and D - 0.7E (suction). D is
dead load, W is wind, and E seismic. For all designs, the load cases with wind governed.

As previously stated, the slope of the veneer creates loads on the metal framing components
in additional to applied lateral loads. The cold-formed framing was sized using the added
lateral forces from the veneer dead load. Thus, the continuous corbelling is effectively
supported by the metal framing and not the veneer alone. Anchors were spaced at either 16
inches on center each way in the field of the wall or 12 inches (30 cm) on center for corner
conditions due to the differential in applied wind pressures. Consequently, the cold-formed
metal framing was also spaced to optimize the anchor spacing and the size of the metal
The framing was supported at each floor with
horizontal movement joints provided to accommodate
the building structure deflection. Figure 11 shows a
typical sloped wall section at a window opening.

Relieving support - WT at each


Hung framing or lintel over

openings - typical.

Figure 11. Sloped framing.

Construction Realities
The brick masonry veneer consisted of walls
with varying angles, about 50% were within 5
degrees of plumb and the remaining sloped
between 70 degrees to 100 degrees. Some
sloping walls consisted of angles that varied
within the same wall plane creating
cascading, sweeping curves and masonry
layout challenges (Figure 12). There were
two types of brick masonry veneer wall
assemblies. Type 1 walls consisted of
modular 2 x 7 5/8 (57x194 mm) brick
alternating with a projecting special bullnose
brick in running bond (Figure 10). Type 2
walls consisted of a Norman brick, 2 x 11
Figure 12: Cascading Sloping Walls
5/8 (57x295 mm) laid in typical running bond.

Type 1 sloping walls were the most challenging to construct. Mock-ups created prior to
construction enabled the contractor and construction team to resolve this and other
construction challenges. New and innovating tools and construction methods were used.
The special bullnose brick projected outward 2 inches
(50mm) (Figure 3). The extruded brick unit had a
smooth face for the setting bed. The bricks were very
dense with an average compressive strength of 18,200
psi (126 MPa) and a very low absorption of about 4%.
These factors made it impossible to install the bullnose
units on sloping walls using normal laying techniques;
they would tip over.

To accommodate the bullnose bricks, the surface was

scored and dovetail slots were added to the surface to
improve bond capacity. Figure 13 shows both
rectangular and dovetail slots that were considered; the
dovetails were selected. The units were made 100%
solid to move the center of gravity further towards the
back of the brick. See Figures 3 and 14. The dovetails
are not shown in Figure 10. Figure 13: Bullnose brick.
Type 1 wall.
The mason contractor invented breakthrough
tools and techniques to construct the walls..
Light gauge 2 x 2 (50mm) steel angles were
fastened to an adjustable vertical rail system to
support the bullnose bricks during installation
(Figure 15) and were placed as follows:
Walls 70% to 80% - Every 1 bullnose
Walls 80% to 85% - Every 3 bullnose
Walls 85% to 90% - Every 4 bullnose
courses. Figure 14. Anchors upturned for
The angles were clamped to a vertical support stretcher course.

Another innovative tool was the pivot system for

the vertical support rail. As shown in Figure 16,
it was made adjustable to accommodate
varying angles.

Keeping the brick veneer level and on plane

was also a challenge. The sloping wall lines
were established by the location of the relieving
angles and the floor lines based on the design
drawings. The masons followed the light gage
steel stud backup which was surveyed and
checked by the inspection team. To keep the Figure 15. Angles support bullnose
brick veneer level and parallel to the wall plane, bricks during setting.
special attachments were made that
connected to the vertical rail system to receive
line blocks. Vertical support rails were placed
at varying spacing to accommodate the
sloping walls. Lines were then pulled between
the line blocks. Offset lines had to be used
due to the bullnose projection from the
modular brick.

An engineering requirement was that the

supported walls on the South elevation had to
be constructed from the top floor down to
control the cantilever deflections of the
framing. Figure 16 Vertical rails were adjustable.
The mason foreman and layout crew had to
trace the bond from the first floor up to the
fourth. Normally, this would have been easy,
but this building's bond layout was much more
complex. Thousands of cuts had to be made
to accommodate the shifting bond on the
sweeping walls (Figure 17). Cuts were also
required to accommodate sloping-angled
windows, corners and other variables. Special
brick shapes were used at angled corners.
There were five masonry saws on the project
with an average of 25 masons in total. Figure 17. Many cuts were made to
maintain running bond.
Special details were created at the relieving
angles to accommodate deflection. Mortar was
used to slope the flashing on the angles
(vertical arrow, Figure 18). Stainless steel
flashing was manufactured with an internal drip
edge and lip brick was installed to minimize the
soft joint (horizontal arrow, Figure 18).

To maintain accuracy, a separate mason crew

laid out the thousands of brick veneer ties.
There was adjustment in the anchors, but it
was limited because of the sloping walls and
angles (Figures 19 and 20). Special ties that
connected directly to the broad side of the stud Figure 18. Internal drip edge at
were used on sloping walls. Slots were cut in relieving angle flashing.
the exterior sheathing and the ties were
fastened to the studs by the masons (Figure
21). Each hole was then made water tight with
sealant under continuous inspection.
Standard two-piece adjustable ties that
were fastened through the sheathing were
used on the remaining plumb veneer wall

Figure 19: Ties are laid out in advance.

Figure 20. Minimum tie Figure 21. Side-mounted Figure 22. Tie penetrations
adjustment. Clips hold ties (coated stainless steel) sealed. Air barrier applied.
insulation. interior view.

Special ties were designed to engage the

cores of the modular brick as shown in Figure
10. The air/moisture/vapor barrier was then
applied to the entire exterior sheathing adding
additional protection at the ties (Figure 22).

The head joints on the bullnose brick were

raked back the 2 inch (50 mm) depth of the
bullnose, creating a dark shadow. The bed
joints were struck flush using a specially
Figure 23. Raked joints and shadows
created jointer. The remaining joints were
tooled concave (Figures 23 and 24).

Figure 24. Flush jointing tool

The design and construction of the brick veneer at the Yale Health Services Building required
a team effort that sought solutions beyond typical boundaries to successfully build one of the
most unique and contemporary brick masonry veneer buildings in the world. There were
challenges, but none that were insurmountable given a team approach. Additional
photographs are shown in the gallery at the end of the article.

Project Architects: Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, Atlanta, GA; Mack Scogin- Partner,
Jennifer Pindyck - Project Manager, Michael Filisky-Project Designer
Facade Engineer: Ryan-Biggs Associates, P.C.; David Biggs-Consultant, Chad Boyea-
Design Engineer, Chris Latreille-Project Engineer
International Masonry Institute: Richard Filloramo
Masonry Contractor: Joe Capasso Mason Enterprises; Rickie Delbuono - Project Foreman,
Pat Foley Project Manager, Joe Capasso Owner.
Air Barrier/Flashing Contractor: Advanced Caulking and Restoration, LLC Sebby Giliberto
Yale University: David Cripe - Project Representative
Construction Manager: Turner Construction


FERO 2010: Side Mounting Rap-Tie, FERO Corporation, 15305 - 117th Ave., Edmonton,
Alberta T5M 3X4, Canada,

MSJC 2002: Masonry Standards Joint Committee "Building Code Requirements for Masonry
Structures (ACI530-02/ASCE5-02/TMS 402-02)" The Masonry Society, Boulder, Colorado,

Rhinoceros 2010: Rhinoceros V4.0, McNeel North America, 3670 Woodland Park Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103 USA,