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The Work Behind Urban Jam

Urban Jam at Miami Design District, a feat of 36 total cars mounted onto a parking garage, took the collaborative efforts of our engineers and project managers, as well as our project partners Clavel Arquitectos to ensure everything was not only aesthetically correct but also structurally sound, especially near the coast where weather conditions can be extreme.

Working based on artist renderings, Entech partnered with architect Manuel Clavel to provide his firm with the cars complete with finished painted fiberglass bodies, functioning LED headlights and tail lights for nighttime action, and undercarriage screen print replicas to complete the look when viewing from inside the garage.

Entech began by intensely reviewing the renderings and area of the building to confirm what size cars would fit and make the most sense in the space. Working closely with all the stakeholders, Entech narrowed it down to three featured cars: 2016 Mustang GT, 1974 Chevy Laguna, and a 1963 Corvette. A benefit to selecting these vehicles was being able to find “Kit Cars” of the bodies of these vehicles to produce parts to go to mold. We then used these to create molds for the fiberglass cars that would later hang on the garage. We pulled 12 Corvettes, 8 Lagunas, and 16 Mustangs to complete the 36 total that would encompass the area of the wall for this work of art. The molds were made into 5 parts, to make sure to include all the fine details and not damage the finished Fiberglass part. To meet the final aesthetic desire, the cars would eventually be painted an alternating silver and gold.

When going through the technical design and engineering phase of this project, the initial challenge was to meet the local codes for overhang off the column face, which was set at 4-foot 6-inches from slab to the top end of the roof of each car. This significantly narrowed down how these cars could get mounted to the mullion framework. “The thought process had a lot of back-and-forth discussion, but finally was decided upon to hang these in place by spanning the mullion with a pipe engineered to support the reactionary loading of the cars,” said Justin Stehr, Entech Innovative’s Executive Director. “By going this direction, this set Entech up for an ability to provide the installer an easy route to a successful install, as well.” Part of the way We Work at Entech includes advance planning at every step to ensure the overall success of the project.

Another challenge our engineers faced was having to make sure these 1500-pound cars could withstand hurricane strength winds while suspended on the side of a parking garage. This was done by examining the design loading in two different aspects Dead Load and Dead Load + Wind Load. The wind loading was presumed to act horizontally perpendicular to the building face in either direction and horizontally parallel to the building face as well in either direction. Entech utilized Allowable Stress Design (ASD) wind pressures for defining the facility interface loading. The wind loading will be taken as the ASD wind unit force on the developed contributory area in each relevant direction. Other calculation factors include but are not limited to investigation of the Dead Loading of the Car Support Bars, Wind Loading of Car Support Bars, Stress Examination in Spanning Member. A fiberglass study was also done on a variety of lay-up schedules that were then put through a yield/strength test to prove out the stress and load capabilities on the specific lay-up schedule.

Practicing Install at Zahner Metal Fabrication

The final consideration we had to keep in mind during design and fabrication was the final installation in Miami. Although Entech typically conducts our own installations, in this case multiple installs were taking place and the equipment and staff needed were already on site. However, just because we weren't directly completing the installation did not take away from our attention to detail in ensuring it went smoothly.

To ensure a smooth installation, Entech hung each of the 36 cars at our facility in Rockledge to ensure each car was plumb and level, as well as sent a car to Zahner Metal Fabrication in Kansas City, Missouri for them to practice and installation routine on the mockup they produced. Adhering to this level of care is standard practice at Entech, whether we are performing the install or others. We also made sure we had project management staff down in Miami for installation supervision while onsite for the hanging of each car.

All in all, this project took extensive planning, collaborative design and engineering efforts, as well as working closely with the artists to ensure this project was up to aesthetic and safety standards. It serves as a prime demonstration of how we are The Company That Works, showing our strengths in design and planning, as well as project management and installation even when we are not the ones performing the install. This large scale artistic work was a never attempted engineering feat only made possible by our experienced team and partners.

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