Strength and Design in Concrete Forms

There is something amazingly raw and beautiful in cast concrete forms and buildings. These forms can become any shape imaginable and all that is required is the form to hold the concrete as it dries. Panels of remarkable sizes can be placed on site in construction zones, allowing buildings to rise in record breaking time spans.

Concrete’s developments have continued throughout the years with improvements in its strength and constructability techniques. New developments include high-strength concrete that can be reinforced concrete alone or include structural steel for added strength which has changed the construction world.

Concrete has inherent properties of heaviness and mass that create lateral stiffness and those enormous loads resist high winds and earthquakes plus it can support its own mass allowing high-rise buildings to be easily built.

According to Prairie Material, a construction material partner, the benefits of concrete are:

  • Maximizes size
  • Tenant friendly
  • Sound and vibration proof
  • Beauty
  • Speed of construction
  • Fire safety
  • Indoor air quality

There are endless examples of concrete’s new capabilities and probably a never-ending supply of unexplored design possibilities. The following are examples of just a few projects and components created in new concrete forms.

First is a world traveler that has taken a remarkable picture of a concrete structure. The person is Nagano and here is the building that he found interesting:

Next is a system patented by Quad-Lock for energy-efficient and quality concrete floor and roof systems. It is a system of expanded polystyrene panels with steel beams molded into the product at the ends creating a self-supporting joist and deck system.

The benefits of the Quad-Lock system are:

  • Quiet, healthy, safe and comfortable
  • Durable and sustainable
  • Fast and flexible
  • Lightweight
  • Reduced costs

The third example is a monolithic concrete home designed by the German firm, Andreas Fuhrimann and Gabrielle Hachler. The home is a vacation residence in Switzerland which the floors, ceilings and walls are all made of concrete. This use of one material throughout creates a flow of uniqueness that is unlike most found in residences.

The final example is in an article published in Houzz by John Hill. He discusses the ways of creating artistic walls through texture, greenery, color and pattern. The first example Hill uses is a cast-in-place home designed by Cheng Design. The house is called House 6 – Menlo Park.

This article could continue on with many more stunning structures that have used concrete in innovative and fashionable ways but for now these examples will hopefully be enough to wet the appetite and prick your interest. Concrete is no longer a cold necessity to modern construction but a warm and inviting material to be used in future designs.

Resources: Menlo-Park, Quad-Lock, Nagano, Swipelife, Prairie Materials, Houzz and Concrete on GBE

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