Gilbert Christian School – Architectural GFRC Integrated with Brick Veneer
Gilbert Christian High School is a 2 story above ground building with a basement. Enclosed building area totals about 70,400 square feet. The structure is built primarily of CMU block mixed with steel stud framing.
The school is clad with only two components –
- A custom Arizona thin brick blend veneer and
- Architectural GFRC
Light weight of GFRC made design, engineering and installation of architectural elements at higher elevation much simpler.
The project was produced at the Mesa Precast plant in the Phoenix, AZ area.
The individual GFRC elements produce the entire Greek style architectural facade of the building mixed with Corinthian accents to create a unique building in surrounding area.
Gilbert Christian Project: Process
The project design team referred AAS team to the elevations sheets on the contract drawings for guidance in designing the over 40 different GFRC components on the project.
AAS team –
- Designed and presented all the details to the owner and architect.
- Detailed out attachment methods and explained them for effective execution on this project on extremely aggressive completion schedule.
- Created all required custom molds, manufactured all the different building components using a customized materials composition that created required design effects.
- Worked closely with the contractor during the construction/installation phase.
Design, Construction Support for Columns, Corinthian Capitals
Huge 36 inch column covers rise 25 feet to support the large covered entry. Topping the columns are 3 foot tall Corinthian style column capitals under layers of GFRC trim and eave moldings. The detail required to draw entire column Corinthian capitals from scratch was a challenge.
AAS partnered with an artist to create this detail using carved models. The team imported photos of these models into CAD to render the design adjusted to the height requirement needed.
This combination of craftsmanship and technology paved the way for a truly unique GFRC element.
Customized Color and Texture with Uniform Consistency
The color selected was a natural light gray color combined with and a proprietary hand applied texture finish. Arguably the most difficult color to produce with a high level of consistency is natural gray based cement units. In addition to using cement and sand from a single source for the entire project we also used the same crew members for each task throughout the entire project.
Units came out of the forms daily and compared to the previous days production by staging them side by side. The consistency in daily due diligence in comparing pieces and curing was integral to the process of palletizing and shipping the products.
This was critical for building of this size.
The texture selected resembles pitted limestone. This is achieved through the use of smooth forms with a hand applied texture directly to the forms before casting. To eliminate form seam lines on the face of finished product, casting of detailed units were done separate. These pieces were then joined together later in the manufacturing process.
Gilbert Christian Architectural GFRC Project: Eave Moldings
Another area where we used resourceful and innovative thinking was incorporated into the different eave moldings. Two different GFRC eave moldings wrap the entire roof line of the structure. In addition to the decorative appeal, the eave moldings were to extend up to the edge of the tile roof line and take the place of stucco over foam soffit system. This eliminated the need for a different material type and created a seamless architectural feature with a double function to cover the ends of the roof trusses. According to the project schedule the roof was to be decked and sheeted before installation of the eaves. This virtually eliminated any outside access points for the installing contractor to attach the eaves. AAS team developed an attachment method that bolted to the building from the inside after the roof structure was in place.
Structural Support, Construction Process
The structure is built primarily of CMU block mixed with metal stud framing.The light weight metal stud frame is strong enough for the construction, since GFRC is much lighter in weight. GFRC opens up options for building exterior design with ability to customize colors, and finish combined with the ease of installation.
In a building culture where foam and stucco is the common building material, the GFRC shapes create a distinguished and durable look separating this project from all others in the surrounding area.
The design scheme combines the use of GFRC wainscot base, columns, door and window surrounds, two different eave moldings and decorative cartouches measuring 5 feet tall and almost 11 feet long. Huge 36 inch column covers rise 25 feet to support the large covered entry.
GFRC trim accentuates every window, door and arch.
Easy, Seamless Integration of GFRC with Brick Veneer
The exterior of the school building is created using brick veneer. The 4 ft. by 8 ft. brick panels are much thinner creating the desired aesthetic of bricks with much lower cost and also much less structural support requirements. GFRC products being thin and requiring much less structural support integrated well with the brick veneer of the building.