Plans for the recently opened Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington, DC called for the development of a 1.25 million square foot building on a 100,000 square foot site. With 1,175 rooms and 49 suites, it is the largest hotel in the city. The Washington, DC Marriott Marquis illustrates important principles for excavation, analysis, detailing, and construction.

Marriott Marquis Hotel, Washington, DC
  • Why was top down construction used when the building is only 15 stories tall and seven stories deep?
  • How did top down construction work?
  • How did it affect foundation and framing design?
  • How were soil pressures directed around huge openings in basement slabs?
  • And how were transfer girder deflections handled to keep upper floors level?

Mr. Chris Crilly is an Associate of Thornton Tomasetti and has nine years of experience designing structures for a variety of building types, including healthcare, office, educational, hospitality and residential. He is responsible for structural analysis and design, oversight of engineering and Building Information Modeling (BIM) staff efforts, coordination with architects and design team members, production of structural drawings, and construction administration. Other notable projects include CityCenter DC, Norfolk Courts Consolidated Courts Complex, Bloomberg Children’s Center and Sheikh Zayed Tower, and Torre Koi, a mixed use high rise currently under construction which upon completion will become the tallest building in Mexico at 276 meters tall. Mr. Crilly was founder and past chair of the Structural Engineers Association of Metropolitan Washington’s Young Members Group.

Top-down Excavation Mining in Action

By Chris Crilly, P.E., LEED AP, Thornton Tomasetti

What is ASCE-NCS?

Welcome to the website of the National Capital Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), a professional society for civil engineers.  ASCE was founded in 1852, represents 130,000 members of the civil engineering professional worldwide, and is America's oldest national engineering society.

The National Capital Section was founded in 1916 and currently has more than 3,100 members.  The section is located in Region 2 (link to region 2: The National Capital Section serves the District of Columbia; the counties of Montgomery and Prince Georges in Maryland, except College Park in Prince Georges County; the counties of Fairfax and Arlington, and City of Alexandria in Virginia. The National Capital Section's mission includes:

  • To advance the professional knowledge and improve the practice of civil engineering for our members and those we serve.
  • To advocate for our profession with those whose actions affect us, and to educate those whose actions and responsibilities could benefit from a better understanding of the contributions of civil engineers.
  • To improve our community through effective community outreach programs, local involvement and educational efforts.

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