Posts tagged with "Ductal":

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KPMB’s Ductal facade in Toronto

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Rotman School makes the most of high-performance concrete and glass

The University of Toronto Rotman School of Management’s nearly $100 million expansion project will more than double the size of the business school. A new 161,000-square-foot building designed by Toronto-based KPMB Architects mediates between its neighbors—a historic 19th century brick home on one side and the towering Brutalist Robarts Library on the other—while maintaining views to the medieval Oxbridge-style Massey College to the east. The architect’s solution to the architectural mixture is an elevated box made with floor-to-ceiling glazing punctuated by slivers of Ductal, a patented ultra-high performance concrete made by Lafarge.
  • Fabricator Armtec
  • Designer KPMB Architects
  • Location Toronto, Canada
  • Status In progress
  • Materials Ductal
  • Process Precast panel design and fabrication
The building’s curtain wall is partly clad with more than 350 dark gray Ductal panels that are just 30 millimeters thick. Panels range from .5 to 1 meters wide by 3.5 to 5.3 meters high. An additional 100 panels, each only 19 millimeters thick, create an interior feature wall. The color and texture of the curtain wall’s opaque sections complement the black slate rooftops of several houses nearby. Fabricated by Ontario-based precast manufacturer Armtec, the panels were made with Ductal because of the concrete’s aesthetic quality and its ability to meet the structural requirements of a curtain wall application. KPMB’s challenge was to meet the university's request for a long, thin, lightweight span facade panel more than 5 meters tall, with a durable exterior surface. They hoped for a material that would show no signs of wear from the elements over time. Ductal could create a very thin, monolithic-plate, slab-type design with a custom-colored and molded surface that would also “plug-and-play” with curtain wall framing systems without intermediate jointing. The panels went through several iterations during the project’s mockup phase. Because Ductal was a fairly new material to Armtec, they studied its structural capabilities before developing the final panel manufacturing process and appearance. The final panel pattern and size is based on the need to keep the glass panels down to ±40 percent of the overall skin (due to energy performance criteria for LEED). The design also accommodates one operable window per office. The weight of the larger Ductal panels, along with the oversized unitized curtain wall panels, created some installation challenges during construction. Because the panels had a smooth exterior surface, the contractor was able to use vacuum cup lifters typically used with glass to install the panels. The technique allowed the smooth-panel fabrication processes to be maintained while keeping the project on schedule and reducing installation costs. Recently completed, the facade has added an appealing new face to the campus ahead of the building’s completion. When the addition opens later this year, the new structure will be fully integrated with the existing business school, allowing students to move through both buildings via several horizontal connections and a full-height atrium and staircase.
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Gehry’s Louis Vuitton Foundation Facade

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Ductal concrete technology used for the architect’s shapely “icebergs” in Paris

Frank Gehry has referred to his design for the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation, a new home for the contemporary art collection of LVMH mogul Bernard Arnaud, as “a veritable ship amongst trees.” The project, located at the northern entrance of Paris’ Bois de Boulogne near the Jardin d’Acclimatation, hasn’t been without its share of controversy and delays, but the nearly 130,000-square-foot, 150-foot-tall building is moving ahead and is slated for completion in 2012. Though a hovering glass carapace will enshroud the museum, models of the design show the sails parting at various points to reveal concrete “icebergs” that form the building’s core. Since 2006, building material manufacturer Lafarge has been working with the building’s project team, prototype designer Cogitech Design, and precast concrete manufacturer Bonna Sabla to realize the design with Lafarge’s Ductal ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC).
  • Fabricators Lafarge Ductal, Cogitech Design, Bonna Sabla
  • Architect Frank Gehry
  • Location Paris, France
  • Status Estimated late 2012 completion
  • Material Ductal concrete
  • Process Moulage Sous Vide (MSV)
The Foundation’s concrete facade will require 16,000 exterior wall panels, each with its own geometry to match the curves of the nearly 97,000-square-foot glass facade. Because producing each panel individually was technically and financially unfeasible, Lafarge partnered with Cogitech and project management consortium RFR/TESS to develop a unique vacuum-casting process. The technology combines a flexible mold that can take on any curvature determined by a 3-D model with a master polystyrene template machined to the desired panel geometry. Named Moulage Sous Vide (MSV), it was patented by Lafarge in 2008 and has since won two innovation awards from the French Concrete Industry Federation. Using the MSV process, Bonna Sabla produced several prototypes, ultimately manufacturing 400 panels with identical dimensions, but completely unique curvatures, that were installed in a full-scale first run model at the building site in September 2010. The company began industrial production of the 16,000 panels this spring. “Our main challenge lay in keeping the mold sufficiently rigid, whilst retaining the suppleness needed to guarantee the exactness of the geometric forms, in conformity with the demands from the project managers,” said Patrick Mazzacane, Director of the UHPC Division at Bonna Sabla, in a release. “We optimized the vacuum molding process, in order to be able to use this during the industrial manufacturing phase.” After undergoing the MSV process, each Ductal panel is cured for 20 hours, then mapped to produce a 3-D report of its shape and ensure it is within 1 millimeter tolerance. The 35-pound segments are approximately 4.9 feet long by 1.3 feet high, and less than an inch thick. Because no two are alike, they are cast with a number and a radio frequency ID chip to ensure each can be traced throughout the installation process, which began this spring, and for maintenance in the future.
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Aidlin Darling′s Bar Agricole Banquettes: Concreteworks

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Ribbon-thin Ductal concrete creates sculptural seating at a San Francisco eatery.

The Aidlin Darling-designed Bar Agricole has brought new life to a warehouse in San Francisco’s industrial South of Market neighborhood. Built in 1912, the renovated building is now home to the 4,000-square-foot “urban tavern” owned by restaurateur Thad Vogler. Taking an unconventional approach to realizing his design vision, Vogler commissioned work from the designer and a variety of trades in exchange for a stake in the business. One of those craftsmen was Oakland-based concrete design and fabrication company Concreteworks.
  • Fabricator Concreteworks
  • Designer Aidlin Darling Design
  • Location San Francisco, California
  • Completion Date Fall 2010
  • Material Ductal Concrete
  • Process Casting
Concrete isn’t the first material that comes to mind when designing restaurant seating, but Joshua Aidlin envisioned ribbon-thin fixed banquettes extruding from the wooden “hull” that would form one wall of the interior. The seats would complement other concrete elements, including the integrally colored concrete floor and board-formed concrete bars, but they would be made from an ultra-high performance fiber-reinforced concrete called Ductal. Developed by Canadian cement manufacturer Lafarge, the high-strength material is gaining increasing popularity for applications like furniture, facades, and other architectural design elements. With a guaranteed lifespan of 50 years, the material has four to eight times the compression strength of conventional concrete, allowing it to be used for very slender, lightweight structures. Working in their 12,000-square-foot, pre-World War II manufacturing facility, the Concreteworks team created metal formwork for the banquette’s dark gray Ductal elements; the at 5-by-5-by-5- foot pieces are formed with a seat on either side of a parabolic backrest. The entire cast form is only one inch thick. A special form with one seat and one flat side was made for the end of the seating row, and the curling base of each banquette is also cast from a separate mold. A three-piece host stand topped with two-inch reclaimed oak mirrors the seats, which are topped with slender, curving pieces of oak for comfort. Like the restaurant’s reclaimed elements and locally fabricated materials, Ductal will help the project achieve LEED Platinum certification because it requires fewer raw materials and limits fabrication waste.