One of the most desired and sought after architectural finishes in the world is exposed architectural concrete, but despite that many people remain largely unaware of what architectural concrete even is.
Basically, in order for a building to work, the engineers, contractors, and architects of that building need to work together to ensure that the desired aesthetic finish is reached while simultaneously ensuring that the required structural performance is achieved. Architectural concrete is simply concrete that is used to provide an aesthetic finish while also adding to or otherwise improving the structural function of a building.
Since architectural concrete will be permanently exposed to view, the materials and processes used in the construction of the concrete need to be carefully selected, as it will be more vulnerable than other uses and applications of concrete. Today, architectural concrete is one of the most important design means in modern day buildings and architecture, whether it be for homes or commercial buildings.
Cracks that would seriously harm the appearance as well as functionality of concrete can be controlled by keeping aspect ratios of the dimensions of the concrete elements limited. The thickness, length, and width of the construction joints will be limited via control and construction joints. The control joint spacing will typically need to be around thirty times the slab thickness, while the length-to-width will need to be formed by control joints limited to 1.5.
Mockups are necessary for verifying the overall performance and sturdiness of the building design due to the great complexity of all the detriments that could negatively affect the outcome. Furthermore, mockups will be absolutely essential to obtain in order for the design team to approve aesthetics and for the buyer to view samples for what will be acceptable for the outcome of the project.
Basically, the point to mockups is to ensuring that all of the components will be used properly and ensuring that the project is headed into a direction that will be structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing.
The placement of architectural concrete also needs to be controlled in order to avoid damaging the surrounding forms, and further to separate the concrete that is being placed, if necessary. We take every step to ensure that concrete will not be splattered onto the surrounding environment, which would create irregular finishes.
Vibrating the concrete is also necessary in order to ensure that it will be well consolidated and to ensure an overall uniform concrete surface.
The same methods for curing structural concrete apply to architectural concrete as well, but there are some more considerations and factors that need to be taken into account. The curing process should begin as quickly as possible and be maintained for each pour.
It is easier to achieve consistent result with the use of curing compounds, so architectural concrete should not be poured. It’s also important to maintain consistency of temperature while the concrete cures in order to help maintain a uniform color.