Linbeck Group, a Texas-based, technology-driven building construction firm, today announces its completion of the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center, located at the former Imperial Sugar Company at 198 Kempner Street. Construction began December 1, 2015 and was completed on time and on budget.
“The historical significance of the Imperial Sugar factory and what it represents is of upmost importance to the community. Linbeck proved a trusted partner in rehabilitating this industrial facility into a desirable place for kids to learn and play,” said Tammie Kahn, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Houston and the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center.
Originally built in the early 1900’s as a sugar packaging warehouse, Linbeck was charged with preserving as much of the existing interior and exterior elements as possible while converting the industrial facility into a modern 12,000-square-foot Children’s Discovery Center.
The original building’s industrial design plans proved challenging for the installation of new ductwork and mechanical systems. Maintaining the industrial look and feel by leaving ceiling beams exposed and installing ductwork around original concrete columns required collective coordination between the design and construction team. Autodesk BIM 360 Field and Lean Construction processes were employed to establish aesthetically pleasing placement of MEP systems while not blocking exhibits.
Additional interior work included the installation of new glass in existing window openings, and the infill of a service elevator and the second floor slab where equipment previously existed.
The shell of the warehouse, comprised of original clay tiles, required the application of waterproofing sealant to preserve its industrial heritage.
Today the facility offers six exhibits including interactive play areas, math and science learning space and a rotating culture gallery, which will change every 12 months.
Others on the design team include architect of record Gensler and MEP engineering by Telios.