A precast facade will tell the story of a place, a company, or the building site itself in a unique way, especially when you also use the readily available graphic concrete technology. But where to start? Like any design, this starts with an idea and moves into the conceptual design, looking to possible materials, and more. You may already be considering precast. If the thought of a precast facade gives you trepidation, we have firsthand experience with 800 projects worldwide. In fact, the challenge lies not with designing the precast facade or element. Instead, the hard part is to narrow your ideas for expression down to just one. However, it is also important to take into account the technical attributes and best practices for the technique used.
Below are the top 4 considerations when you design a precast facade:
1. Start with what’s most important – THE ARCHITECTURE
The success of the project rests on the building design as a whole. With a precast façade, it is at least as important as ever to have a confident hand in expressing the architectural theme or as we say, the story of the building. What do you wish to achieve? Are you a fan of minimalist harmony, layers and textures, or bold expression? Even if you are considering a work of art on the precast facade, the building is much more than a canvas.
2. Explore ways the theme translates into A COMBINATION OF FORM AND DESIGN
Once you have the theme or story figured out and the conceptual design in mind, the requirements of precast and/or graphic concrete as the medium will affect its expression. You will need to consider:
- the form of the building and the rhythm of the facade in light of the pattern
- the concrete panel layout and any tiling of the panels
- the concrete color and pattern contrast
3. Reckon with panel joints in the precast facade
One special feature of a precast façade is the panel joints. Some consider them to be a nightmare and do everything they can to hide the joints. That can work well, but for an outcome that makes an even greater impact, we suggest that you design the façade with the panel rhythm and joints in mind.
You may wish to camouflage the joints. Here the horizontal joints become part of the pattern.
A strong pattern draws the attention and the joints become secondary.
The joints can also be an important part of the design.
4. Nail the technical side to ensure a powerful outcome and cost efficiency
Needless to say, the technical attributes play a role in designing with Graphic Concrete. Although the panel sizes can be whatever size you need them to be, it is good to remember that the maximum printing width on the graphic concrete membrane is 3200 mm (10' 6''). The length is limitless.
For large panels, membranes can be joined. However, if you want to make life easier for yourself and for all the other stakeholders, you’ll take this into account. Additional technical considerations:
- the panel sizes and scale, ratio and tiling
- the pattern type, size and positioning on the panels and facade
- the details; corners, openings
We can help you with all the technical aspects to ensure the outcome is truly amazing and at the same time meets the cost efficiency requirements.
Are you considering a precast facade?
Click here to contact us because, with even a single conversation, you’ll have a much better idea of whether precast and graphic concrete are right for your project!