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Friday, April 1, 2011

Precast Concrete Panels

I visited the construction site of my project in 中和市 a couple of days ago. The construction crew from Ruentex Group was in the process of installing the precast concrete panels.

There are two types of concrete panels on this project: bush hammered and image.

I have always liked the bush hammered finish, which provides the building with visual and tactile textures, like the fluting on a classical column. This type of finish was often used by Paul Rudolph on his buildings, the Art and Architecture Building at Yale, completed in 1963, is probably the most famous example. Bush hammered concrete seems to have gone out of fashion with the brutalist architectural style; recently people are more interested in the smooth finish of bare concrete. Hopefully, with this project there will be some renewed interests in bush hammered finish, as well as the architecture of the 60's and 70's; what's old may be new again.

The other type of panel is a newer type of finish. With the current technology, any image can be transferred on to the surface of the concrete. In our case this is done by casting the surface of the concrete with a computer-carved mold, which has grooves of varying depth and width. We are using an image of trees, which is meant to relate to the adjacent park. The image panels are conceived as an oversize frieze.

The building is scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer.  

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