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.
Location: Libertyville, Ill.
Type of Precast: Architectural Precast
Size: 190,000 sq. ft. (31,000 sq. ft. architectural precast)
Design Architect: Pratt Design Studio Ltd.
Architect: HDR Architects
Engineer: KJWW Engineering Consulting /Thornton-Thomasetti Engineers
General Contractor: Power Construction Co.
Owner: Advocate Condell Medical Center
Advocate Condell Medical Center, an architectural precast medical center in the Chicago area, underwent a $90 million 190,000 square-foot expansion and 60,000 square-foot renovation to transform the 75-year old facility into a world-class medical center.
The facade consists of 340 acid etched, off-white exterior architectural panels. Many of the uniquely articulated panels are self-supporting, taking vertical loads directly to the foundation walls rather than to the structural framework. This design approach ensures structural integrity while lowering framing costs.
"Using precast panels ensured we could erect the building in almost any weather. If you can generate repetition or have to build in winter conditions, precast makes a lot of sense," says Bob Pratt of Chicago-based Pratt Design Studio, Ltd., the project architect.
A key design challenge was matching the 11- to 12-foot floor-to-floor height of an earlier addition which left little room for ductwork. The innovative solution was to locate the ducts for mechanicals outside the building in precast concrete structural columns that look like buttresses. This approach allowed interior columns to be small, allowing more usable space and eliminating massive edge beams that could have restricted future expansions. The exterior columns also disguise the mechanicals.