High Concrete Group LLC has introduced ThinCastTM, the thinnest precast concrete rainscreen panel available on the market. Designed for use in commercial, institutional, retail, and low- to high-rise construction, this innovation provides architects with the natural beauty and character of concrete in lightweight panels that accomplish their rainscreen design goals.
Precast architectural systems offer a virtually unlimited range of architectural expressions. Colors, textures, and surface finishes can be combined to create effects from subtle to dramatic. Design elements such as reveals, bullnoses, arrises and chamfers establish visual interest and scale. Details such as arches, curved panels, colonnades, and reliefs bring sophistication to images from traditional to progressive.
An ultimately plastic material, architectural precast presents design possibilities that are limited only by the imagination. Yet master plans or other dictates may impose a range of building materials for use in a building project. Whatever the intent, when used as the dominant form within this framework, architectural precast concrete can provide a solid basis for successful design execution while accommodating other cladding types including metal panels.
While insulated metal panels may be delivered as a unit, similar to precast sandwich wall panels, they are not classified as load bearing panels in the sense of axial loading. The panels rely on a series of seals to keep driven moisture out, which can be adversely affected by deflection. At 5,000 to 7,000 psi, precast concrete panels are impervious to moisture are typically double caulked at the joint to be air- and water-tight under wind loads.
Aesthetically, metal wall panels can’t convey the depth or character of precast accomplished through sandblasting, acid etching, and retarder finishes which expose the underlying aggregate.
Building envelope performance is the primary consideration in material selection. For long-term energy conservation, choose insulated architectural precast wall and cladding panels. These products offer integral insulation through a sandwich wall design that assures thermal efficiency. A layer of rigid polystyrene insulation is encapsulated inside, providing edge-to-edge protection throughout the panel to meet the continuous insulation requirements of the energy code. The panels are delivered to the job site as a premade unit and require no additional materials or labor beyond painting of the interior surface.
Often, insulated metal panels are used to accent architectural precast or another material that predominates in the design. If metal panels are to be used in the project, they can be strategically integrated to enhance the effect of the precast expression. Sometimes selected for use in canopies, metal panels might be extended into soffits, sills, or eyebrows as contrasting elements. To protect the integrity of the building envelope, no insulated metal panels should be used without a complete assembly moisture permeance analysis.
A successful integration of metal panels with insulated precast wall panels was accomplished at the Indiana University Innovation Center, a LEED Silver Certified building that won a PCI Design Award as “... a great piece of architecture and use of precast concrete in combination with other materials,” according to the judges.