Architectural Enclosure

80 on Commons black mix with white balcony

Architectural Overview

Architects have chosen precast concrete architectural facades for more than half a century because they offer exceptional aesthetic and structural versatility, speed of enclosure, and durability. No other material combines the range of shapes, colors, textures, fire-resistance, acoustical insulation, weather tightness, long-term durability, low maintenance care, and rapid enclosure. 

The aesthetic design versatility of wall panels allow for complex and beautiful buildings to emerge using two types of wall panels:

  • Load Bearing Architectural Wall Panels

  • Non-Load Bearing Architectural Wall Panels

Both Panels can be either insulated or solid wall panels.

Precast wall panels include weather-tight enclosures for maximum protection against mold and mildew, and their superior structural strength makes them highly impact- and blast-resistant for maximum security. The durability of our wall panel systems makes them the ideal choice for meeting long-term construction needs.

 

Meet A Representative

Whole Sales Team
Alexandra Clayton

Alexandra "Ace" Clayton

Architectural Sales
Mobile: 717.538.8078

aclayton@high.net

Architectural Literature

Architectural Enclosure FAQs

Yes, but only if shapes are repetitive. It costs considerably more to create an original mold (or form) for complex shapes/profiles. However, if 20 to 30 castings are made from a single mold, the cost is amortized over all of the castings, reducing the premium to a nominal amount per casting.

There are numerous ways in which precast color uniformity can be enhanced.

Use a retarded finish. This exposes the coarse aggregate, permitting the coarse aggregate's uniform natural color to "carry" the panel's color. In doing so, be certain to use a color compatible matrix (sand/cement/pigment), in order to mask any uneven coarse aggregate dispersion.

Use white cement instead of gray cement whenever possible. White cement's color control is excellent. Gray cement manufacturers do not attempt to control color. Thus, gray cement color can vary widely even within a single SUPPLIER, causing significant precast color variations.

Remove a sufficient amount of the as-cast concrete's surface. All concrete is blotchy when left as-cast. The surface "paste" or "skin" must be removed in order to reveal the true concrete color. For example, light acid etching is apt to result in a blotchy or shaded appearance because the acid does not remove all of the surface "paste" or "skin". Therefore, acid-etched finishes should be deep enough to reveal the tips of the coarse aggregate. Likewise, lightly sandblasted finishes should reveal some coarse aggregate, in order to appear reasonably uniform.

Avoid large planes of smooth, uninterrupted surfaces. If the eye has nothing to focus upon except large expanses of plain, smooth concrete surfaces, it will perceive minute panel to panel color differences. If instead, such large surfaces are interrupted by rusticated joint patterns, plane changes, and/or mix/finish changes, the eye will be drawn to these features making slight color variations, panel to panel, almost indistinguishable and unimportant.

Avoid using pigments in very small dosages. Pigment content, as a percentage of the total ingredients in a concrete batch, is very small. As that percentage diminishes, the likelihood of increased pigment content variation, batch to batch, goes up dramatically causing noticeable color variation.

Multiple mixes will increase cost. Consult your High representatives before finalizing your design, because some mix and/or finish combinations require more additional labor than others.

Small precast pieces usually cost much more per square foot than large pieces (pieces 100 sq. ft. or larger) because handling costs (i.e., stripping, finishing, yarding & loading, hoisting and connections) are similar for small and large pieces. The cost for handling small pieces is distributed over fewer square feet per piece than in large panels so that the handling cost per square foot for small panels is greater than for large panels. Where possible, combine small pieces with adjacent precast pieces.

The most important thing you can do is call 1.800.PRECAST to involve your HCG representative as early as possible in the development of your project's architectural precast application. Our sales representatives are trained to help designers maximize the value of their precast design. For example, how a precast exterior is panelized can affect cost significantly with little or no difference in appearance. Also, a designer can employ important features such as reveals, rustication joints, medallions, form liner patterns, etc. at very little additional cost, but only if such features are used repeatedly (avoiding costly, frequent form changes). It's important to know what design techniques to use and when to use them. Contact your High sales representative.

We are certain that you, as well as your client, expect your building's exterior to become the high quality realization of your design's intent. And the best assurance that your project will be a high quality result is to rely upon the industry's only truly independent certification program - PCI's plant certification program.

There are four (4) compelling reasons to choose architectural precast concrete for your building's exterior:

1. Architectural precast is the only cladding material that permits you, the designer, to custom design shape, color, texture, and pattern - only you control your building's unique, custom exterior look.

2. Architectural precast enables you to enclose your building's exterior in a small fraction of the time versus most all other cladding materials - this reduces construction cost dramatically and provides your client much earlier occupancy.

3. Proven low initial cost. Architectural precast concrete is used widely by office building developers nationwide. They tell us it is their cladding material of choice because it offers a high quality "look" at a very economical price.

4. Long term maintenance is almost negligible. All you need to do is re-caulk the precast joints after 15 to 20 years.

Certainly! We encourage you to do so. For a minimal additional cost (some additional reinforcing and minor additional connection cost) architectural precast concrete can become a terrific load-bearing element.

"Architectural precast is durable, attractive, and a high performing structure showcasing that resilience is the new sustainability."
Alexandra Clayton, HCG
Types of Aggregate

Colors & Finishes

With precast concrete, the aesthetic versatility of the product leads to endless possibilities for your next design. 

Go from one applied finish to exposed aggregate back to the applied finish all within the same panel!

Learn More
AugmentedRealityBIM

BIM

Augmented reality can help bring your project to life before construction even starts. See what your project looks like in 3D with our top of the line team at High Concrete.

Learn More
Touching graphic concrete panel

Graphic Concrete®

Impart patterns, branding, or signage on large-scale precast concrete surfaces is just the beginning of what this product can offer for your next project.

Learn More

Related Projects

Front View of Riverside Neuroscience Center with Parking Sign
Healthcare 07/2015

Riverside Hospital Neuroscience Tower

The Riverside Hospital Neuroscience Tower project is a 10-story, 437,000-square-foot addition to an Ohio Health campus. The project is the only one of its kind and is a state-of-the-art, world-class brain and spine care destination. The project includes 224 private rooms and a large interior atrium the size of two full-size basketball courts.

The exterior features 72,390 ft2 white, precast concrete panels as well as a series of blue-tinted, vertical windows. This was done to resemble the other buildings on the campus. These buildings were built at different times, with different materials, but many feature white brick walls surrounding vertical rhythms of windows. “We wanted to stay away from bricks,” said the architect. “They have an institutional connotation and can make a building appear bigger.”

Precast panels were utilized on the exterior of the building to cover a substantial portion of the facade. Precast was also used to clad a large portion of an interior courtyard that began at the third level of the structure with a rooftop green space/garden area and concluded seven stories higher at the penthouse level.

View Riverside Hospital Neuroscience Tower
Christ Hospital Parking Garage View
Healthcare 01/2017
2019

Christ Hospital

In 2012, the Christ Hospital Network in Cincinnati, Ohio, decided to add an orthopedic center of excellence to its already nationally renowned healthcare facility. The owners worked with an architect to design the seven-story, 381,000 ft2 LEED Silver-certified Joint & Spine Center, which linked it directly to the hospital’s existing surgical and imaging areas.

As part of the broader master plan, the client and architect agreed that the design for the Joint & Spine Center needed to reflect the historical redbrick vernacular of the other campus buildings. It also had to meet strict budget restrictions, deliver a watertight building envelope, and meet the high-performance goals set for the new building. All of these requirements would be met with a precast concrete design.

View Christ Hospital
80 on Commons black mix with white balcony
Mixed-Use 01/2019

80 on the Commons

The playful yet sophisticated use of a herringbone pattern results in a standout, bold style that NBBJ wanted to capture on this civic asset in the city’s central open space.

Continuing in the style of the black façade on the top eleven stories, the white panels at ground level begin with linear lines and gradually fade to a smooth finish. The transition from a smooth finish to a heavily textured panel gives the ground level a clean ordered look in contrast to the beauty of the organized chaos above. The white mix used as the deep contrast is captured throughout the façade from the balconies to the back of the building’s recessed design were all achieved using precast concrete.

Scattered among the levels are cantilever balcony decks protruding straight out from the structure of the building. No support brackets or elements are needed for these precast slabs due to the design, therefore providing the visual of a floating deck. The severe contrast of the two colors helps deliver the architect's design intent.

The result of the refined material palette and texture of the pattern used is one of the unique features of the building. The custom formwork makes the surface appear as if it is changing throughout the day due to the shadow with the sun. Depending on the angle, the layout gives off an impression where sections appear as different shades of a black concrete mix, when in fact, it’s not.

View 80 on the Commons
1200 Intrepid
Office/Corporate 06/2015
2016

1200 Intrepid

2016's Harry H. Edwards Industry Advancement Award winner proves that precast concrete enables the most innovative architectural designs while providing a highly energy-efficient and durable envelope. One of the most prominent features of the building is the white precast concrete façade, which dips dramatically away from the walkway along the eastern edge, then tips back out again, much like the buildings in a Dr. Seuss story. “One of the key design challenges was to create that curved façade from precast panels,” says David Bosch, engineering team leader for High Concrete Group. The curved load-bearing design was achieved by assembling flat, traditional precast concrete panels to form a complex faceted geometry. An interlocking structural system was embedded within the panels to eliminate the need for traditional precast concrete spandrel panels. “The resulting façade creates an aesthetic versatility that is unique to the project,” Bosch says.

View 1200 Intrepid

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