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: St. Louis, Mo.
Type of Precast: Architectural precast
Size: 322,381 square feet (65,599 square feet of architectural precast cladding)
LEED Silver Certified
Architectural Precast Extends BJC Hospital’s Image of Community
"Love the Lou," quips a car’s bumper sticker as it pulls into the roundabout of the latest Barnes-Jewish Hospital facility in downtown St. Louis, Mo. All around the Gateway to the West, signs of resurgence are on the upswing. Yet few projects in this heartland community demonstrate the high confidence in the future of the new Barnes-Jewish Center for Outpatient Health that opened in March, 2012.
The LEED Silver Certified Center replaces an older, three-story mixed use building. The 320,000-square-foot Center establishes a strong BJC presence on a prominent corner of a popular retail corridor north of Forest Park Parkway, one of the city’s main east-west throughways. BJC HealthCare and the project team met monthly with neighborhood groups in efforts to integrate the building operationally and aesthetically. Retail space on the first floor helps the building relate to its environment. Resident clinics occupy floors two, three, and four; medical clinics and administrative offices occupy the floors above.
"An explicit goal was to extend the hospital’s distinctive palette of architectural precast concrete, glass, and metal," says project architect Bob Ducker of Christner, Inc., the architect for the project. "Through an elaborate process of aesthetic choices that considered all-curtain wall and metal panel, the team decided on precast concrete cladding from High Concrete Group LLC."
High Concrete’s Springboro, Ohio facility crafted the buff color, acid etch architectural precast cladding to match the 10-year-old contemporary precast of BJC’s campus south of the Parkway. "We were impressed with the craftsmanship and attention to quality and appearance of the precast," says Ducker. He notes that the aesthetics of the precast panels were worked out over several sessions with BJC, Christner, and High Concrete. "The architectural precast contributed performance, aesthetics, and constructability to the project," he says.
Aesthetically, the owner needed to extend branded image of its campus using the architecture it is known for in the community, yet blend it thematically in a new neighborhood. From a constructability standpoint, the downtown corner site was very tight for a building of this size, especially considering that the finished structure needed to accommodate easy access by foot, motor vehicle, and mass transportation, and made everything from the steel frame to the tower crane a tight fit.
The precast concrete façade, glass, and steel were detailed to create a smaller, relatable scale appropriate to the surroundings. A three-story expression at the base combines a retail storefront with two stories of fenestration, topped with a precast cornice. Projecting at a low level, a metal canopy establishes a data line, giving a sense of shelter and welcoming. An increasing number of reveals in the architectural precast panels creates a limestone image that brings scale to the streetscape. Above, the vertical expression forms projections over the street.
A two-story truss system supports the building over a 90’-wide drop-off area that circulates vehicles for patient access, eliminating one to two columns. The architectural precast helped make this structural innovation blend seamlessly into the building’s aesthetic. "The precast went up very fast," says Ducker.
Find out more about architectural precast for healthcare