Using precast concrete for your next commercial structure is a wise choice. Precast concrete is fire resistant, and can be manufactured away from the building site so there is less chance that it will be affected by Australia's volatile weather. However, just because your building is being made of precast concrete does not mean it has to be a standard, grey four-sided box. Here are three examples of stunning Australian architecture where precast concrete played a major role.
Scott Street Apartments, Brisbane
Completed in 2009, the Scott Street Apartments are a residential building tower located in Brisbane, Queensland. For this building, precast concrete moulds were used to complete the 56 panels which make up the unique facade this tower shows. Interesting facts about this concrete design include:
- The heaviest concrete panel in the design weighs 8,000 kg.
- Sixteen moulds were needed to make the 56 panels used.
- Despite seeming random, there is a pattern that repeats every fourth level.
As well as being unique in design, these concrete panels were put in place for two reasons. Firstly, they act as a screen to hide the uglier aspects of the building. Air conditioning units and drying courts are hidden behind this concrete screen. Secondly, the panels act as an aesthetically pleasing way to dampen the traffic noise from the streets below. Since this building is located in a central part of Brisbane's Central Business District, there is plenty of vehicular activity going on around it day and night.
Sydney Opera House, Sydney
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous buildings in Australia, and has been open since 1973. The historical significance of this building led to it being added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2007.
The large, white sails that sit above the opera house building were made with precast concrete, as were the concrete ribs that provide support to the sails. The design team spent six years trying to make their ideas into a reality.
Eventually, 2,400 ribs were made at an on-site factory. These ribs allowed arches of differing lengths to be precast using the same mould. Once the lengths were stacked together side-by side, the sail-shaped sphere was formed. These spheres were then covered with 4,000 roof panels. By using precast concrete ribs, the amazing shape of the Opera House sails could be achieved.
Elephant Enclosure, Taronga Zoo, Sydney
When it comes to keeping a herd of elephants in place, there are not many materials stronger than precast concrete, and fewer materials still that could do the job properly. This is why it was the construction product chosen for the new elephant enclosure at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.
There were 48 precast panels used to make the enclosure, planter box and gate surrounds. A pattern was added to each of the concrete panels to remove any trace of a boring element from the project. Plus, when the panels were mounted, they were placed on a five degree slope to completely eradicate a box-like structure.
These three examples of what can be achieved using precast concrete are all the proof you need that your industrial building does not need to be like everything else around it. Using colour, patterns and clever architectural design, your next premises can be both practical and enjoyable to look at.
Speaking to your concrete manufacturer will give you access to ideas about what can be done to enhance the look of your building before the concrete forms are constructed and the concrete poured. Do not be afraid to try something new. The designers of the Sydney Opera House did just that over 40 years ago, and look at the popularity extended to that building today. For more information, contact a company like CPC Panels Pty Ltd.