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Culver Steps


Hackman Capital Partners

Landscape Architect: 

SWA Group

General Contractor:


The Culver Steps project is a near-acre sized public plaza designed by SWA Landscape Architects.   What was once a surface parking lot; the new plaza sits over a new two-level underground parking garage. The “Grand Staircase” which is connected to a four story mixed-use building now occupied by Amazon is the main feature and namesake of the project.  The steps cascade down the side of the building, forming landscaped terraces and seating areas.  The steps are faceted; a significant layout and construction challenge for the team.  A full scale mock-up, which consisted of a large section of the steps, was instrumental in figuring out how to construct the complex angles while maintaining the refined surface finish.  Forms were fabricated utilizing the CAD drawings.  There are no square walls on the project; every form was on the diagonal.  There are over 200 light embeds in the stairs.  The finish is white cement with a light acid wash.  The pours were kept to 6 yard loads.  Ice was utilized in order to give ourselves more working time with the concrete.  The steps were built in 4 months.  The project in total took 6 months to complete.

Our scope also included installing 13,763 cubic feet of EPS 46 foam under the steps and paving, 11,043 sf of the surrounding city sidewalks which utilize alternating light wash finish and medium wash finish, city standard curb and gutter, the drop-off in alternating bands of dark gray integral color silica carbide and medium wash panels and presto finish of existing structural at the auto tunnel.  Shaw also provided a value engineering to the specified IPE wood throughout the project by replacing it with our fine wood plank finish, which is cast concrete made to look like IPE wood.   A water drainage system is integrated into the paving through slot drains and biofilters collect clean runoff. 

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