Cast-in-place smooth architectural concrete walls

Like everyone who has been to Tadao Ando's Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, one of our clients fell in love with the smooth architectural concrete walls. Their new home will be in a primarily traditional neighborhood with an architectural control committee governing plans and material selections. While the committee was concerned about allowing concrete walls in the neighborhood, they were open to letting us demonstrate and present exactly what we were proposing. After a long process they have now approved the change. Below you can see our presentation slides for the final review hearing.

con·tem·plate /ˈkäntəmˌplāt/ Verb: Look at thoughtfully. Think about.

When in doubt, make a template...Consistent reveals and smooth operation was important for these 11' tall pivot doors which will have gaskets installed to dampen mechanical noise from the room behind. A close study of hinge specifications and sketches is a good first step. But actual round-over bits available for profiles, and challenges with installation tolerances may not be obvious in sketches. This is an example of our carpenters making and fine tuning a template prior to working on the actual door slabs. After the first round of templates, we also had a chance to swap one profile and change the order of how two doors opened. 

Typical details are not always applicable

Architectural plans often show "typical details" that are to be used throughout a home. However sometimes applying these details to unique conditions in one room can cause awkward finishes. We try to spot these instances in advance of completing the work and give our input on different ways it could be handled. This is an instance of the typical "reveals" between doors, walls, and floors meeting a unique condition abutting a cabinet panel. Rather than expressing our concerns and questions verbally we produced 3D sketches of the possibilites we could envision and asked the architect for his preference.

Before we build it, is this OK?

Sometimes details work in plan view, but hardware limitations can cause potential issues. In this instance the operation of a pivot hinge was not going to allow for all aesthetic alignments shown in architectural plans. Before constructing we made these sketches to communicate our concern and give the architect a chance to approve or adjust details as desired.

Pivot Door Alignment.jpg

Thinking in 3D

It can be tricky connecting the dots between plans and elevations to truly understand how things look in 3D. Rather than simply handing the plans off to framing subcontractors, we think through the framing ourselves and produce notes and interpretations like these. Prior to construction we meet with the framers to discuss each person's interpretations and ask architects for clarification on details.