Posts tagged with "Ultra High Performance Concrete":
"The eye-catching screen reflects the innovation and creativity that characterizes the various institutes which it unites."The University of Southern Denmark has a new, shared research and education facility by C. F. Møller Architects that combines four academic research institutes into one shared academic research facility. The various groups are connected by a central canyon-like social space with bridges that span the atrium overhead, linking the institutes. The organization of the building is primarily influenced by SDU’s 1970’s era structuralist campus design by architects Krohn & Hartvig Rasmussen that incorporated reinforced concrete construction and cor-ten steel in a linear site layout. The building envelope is predominantly a glass curtainwall with a custom exterior concrete screen made from pre-fab panels of white CRC concrete (Compact Reinforced Composite, a special type of Fiber Reinforced High Performance Concrete with high strength) featuring circular openings with an underlying solar screen and natural ventilation.
The architects say that the composition of the screen avoids a dull repetitive patterning, yet manages to save costs due to a modular assembly comprised of only 7 unique cast profiles. Data from key views, solar shading, and structural requirements provide parameters to control circular opening sizes (from 4 inches to 6 feet in diameter) and locations with respect to interior functions. Structural integrity of the panel connection points added further challenges to the design of the custom screen. Julian Weyer, partner at C. F. Møller, says a collaboration between the fabricator and installer simplified the process: “mockups were used to qualify the design process and especially the design possibilities and constraints of the concrete screen.” The circular patterning of the CRC screen extends onto the roof where variously sized circular skylights bring daylight into the central atrium. This establishes one of the most successful spaces in the building. “The experience of the day lit ‘canyons’ inside and between the labs feels both intimate and spacious,” Weyer says. The building meets the strict Danish building code requirements for low-energy class 2015, which addresses various environmental criteria including minimal energy consumption, good indoor climate and use of materials with a low environmental impact in a life cycle perspective. While the project was designed roughly at the same time as Henning Larsen Architects’ Kolding Campus, a mere 7-minute walk away, the two SDU projects were not directly influential on each other, however Weyer says both contribute to “an already solid Danish tradition for open ‘learning landscapes’ and innovative educational buildings” citing prior C. F. Møller projects such as the Maersk Building in Copenhagen, the A.P. Møller School in Schleswig and the Vitus Bering Innovation Park in Horsens as notable precursors.
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Concreteworks fabricates a Hauer-inspired concrete screen for a residential West Coast architect.Oakland, California–based design and fabrication studio Concreteworks has crafted custom concrete products—bath fixtures, commercial and residential surfacing, outdoor furniture—for more than 20 years. In the last three years, the company has branched out into “lab projects,” in which the 30-member workshop models and mills concrete into three-dimensional architectural features. It does so without the aid of specifications from the designer. “We solve the design issue and the technical requirements,” creative director Mark Rogero told AN. Interior architect Michelle Wempe of Zumaooh discovered Concreteworks’ advanced capabilities in the company’s showroom and was impressed enough to incorporate the work in a residential project she was working on in Sonoma. Though her original design did not include it, Wempe asked Rogero to develop a custom patterned architectural screen at the terminus of a hallway between a living area and private quarters. “We got a lot of inspiration from Erwin Hauer’s work, and the client contributed some images of a 2D cross that is a symbol of peace in some parts of the world,” Rogero said. Working in Rhino with a Maya plugin, the Concreteworks design team began building a digital model from the client’s 2D image, extrapolating it to resemble the work of Hauer. The 3D form emerged as two identical crosses woven together at a 90-degree-angle, alternating between horizontal and vertical orientations. Digital modeling further revealed that the team’s initial sizing of the components was far too large. Originally 12 inches in length, the cross components were reduced to 9 inches in order to fit within the install location. Concreteworks 3D-printed two of the crosses and used these to make two rubber silicon molds. For the next 28 days, the fabrication team used fiber reinforced, ultra-high performance concrete to cast four crosses per day until all 112 components had been formed. The most advanced concrete mix available was used in order to accurately render the delicate details and gentle curves of the mold. The fabricators cast a hole in the center of each piece and threaded them, like beads, on a tensioned steel rod so the final assembly resembles a spine. “It was for a residence so we don’t anticipate a lot of wear, but it does have some flexibility,” Rogero said. The crosses were stacked vertically from bottom to top, and secured to the base with epoxy. A concealed turnbuckle at the top applies tension to each rod. Though Concreteworks’s lab practice is in its nascency, it has yielded great success for the design studio and its clients. “Normally people come to us for custom products that we already know how to make,” Rogero said. “But now we’re offering a service that can accomplish goals for the design community when they don’t know how to do it themselves.”
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Rotman School makes the most of high-performance concrete and glassThe 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. 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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Ductal concrete technology used for the architect’s shapely “icebergs” in ParisFrank 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). 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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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. 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.
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High-performance concrete creates new possibilities for a community college facade.A new generation of concrete, called Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC), is changing the way architects and designers think about the material. Usually composed of cement, fine grain sand, silica fume, optimized admixture, and alkali-resistant glass fiber reinforcement, UHPC offers high ductility, strength, and durability with a fine surface appearance. A new UHPC product called TAKTL, launched last year, shows the many additional applications that are possible with the right material mix, including facade panels available through its sister company VECTR. Recently chosen by Milan-based Wilson Savastano Venezia Architecture Studio for its Dukhan Community College (DCC) project in Qatar, the company is in the research and development phase for perforated and solid panels to clad the school’s sculptural facade. In addition to shading an inner layer of solar glass, the 90,000-square-foot facade will provide dissipative cooling for the DCC’s classrooms, accommodating 1,500 pupils and 250 staff. TAKTL is working with both the architect and substructure engineer Guido Berger to develop the modules. Though their opacity will vary—the building design calls for solid forms at the top of the structure and perforated pieces for occupied floors—each panel will be ¾ inches thick and cast to fit the sculptured facade. The panels require no post-processing, no coating, and no cutting, resulting in minimal waste during production. The company’s manufacturing process is also modular and mobile. For the DCC project, they will establish a facility in the region where the panels will be cast using concrete components sourced from within a 200-mile radius. The same setup can be arranged almost anywhere in the world. “There aren’t any magic ingredients,” said Dee Briggs, the design strategist for the Glenshaw, Pennsylvania-based company. “It’s the mix ratio and process that is proprietary.” TAKTL’s UHPC mix is distinguished by its high matrix density. Developed in partnership with German UHPC specialists, the company’s formula relies on an ideal particle size for each application to insure a densely packed concrete matrix, creating stronger chemical bonds and lower water absorption. The finished product, whether used in VECTR panels or other products from the company’s second sister company, SITU, has high compressive, tensile, and flexural strength. Unlike conventional precast concrete and Glass Fiber Reinforced Cement, the mix incorporates reinforcing fibers and mesh only as a backup strength component—they are not required to meet strength standards. Products can be cast in a variety of textures and colors, all of which resist water, salt, and other environmental corrosives. The material has also caught the attention of the architects at Snøhetta, who recently unveiled the design for Ryerson University Student Learning Center in Toronto. According to project lead Michael Cotton, VECTR panels are being considered for the large lobby (or entry “dome”) wall, which will be suspended from the ceiling and continue onto the building facade. While also considering architectural terracotta, the team is particularly interested in TAKTL’s ductility and finish options. “What we understand about TAKTL is that they can mold it into virtually any shape,” said Cotton. “We are going to need multiple modules; there could be ten facets to each module.” Snøhetta has also visited the company’s facility to discuss options for achieving the vivid, non-homogeneous reflective surface they envision for the Ryerson lobby wall.