Iron Bridge Housing Partners


Amor Design Studios, LLC and TRMA


5M Construction Corp.


Tamuning, Guam


Completed in 2011, Ironwood Heights is an affordable rental community featuring 132 units in a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedrooms, most of which are configured as three-level townhomes.  Second floor units have vaulted ceilings and feature rooftop terraces. 

The $50 million project also includes a community center, outdoor gazebo, and playground.  The community center hosts resident services such as after-school programs for children and adult career and financial training seminars, all of which are free to residents.

Client Benefits

The salient architectural feature of the design was a steep gabled roof formed in the local Chamorro vernacular style.  Due to typhoon winds, high seismicity and a corrosive tropical environment such roofs on new construction in Guam are difficult and expensive to build.  Being an affordable rental project, maintaining the project budget was critical.  BASE worked closely with the Architect to design a structurally efficient Chamorro style roof within the tight project budget.  The dramatic roof lines framed with structural tube steel and metal deck not only accentuate the local culture, but significantly enhance the livability of an affordable community.          

The Science and Design of Structural Engineering

The primary challenge was to design an economical structural system, for this affordable development with a tight budget, which simultaneously addressed several competing issues:  Guam’s harsh environmental conditions (i.e. severe earthquakes, typhoon wind pressures and corrosive tropical environment), an architectural desire to express the Chamorro construction style and ensuring an adequate number of local contractors could bid the work.  Our office evaluated several different structural schemes and fine-tuned the design to best achieve the primary objectives.  Ultimately, reinforced load-bearing masonry walls supporting precast concrete planks with cast-in-place topping and a structural steel steep-sloped roof best addressed all the project challenges.  Some cast-in-place concrete wall segments, columns/pilaster and beams were used to accommodate openings and better address high seismic requirements.