The design intent with the renovation of the Grapevine Convention Center project was to preserve the cultural heritage of the historic town on the buildings’ exterior. The interior spaces serve as the modern-day city administration offices.
The architect determined to incorporate grapevines into the design elements of the series of buildings. When the project started, the architect had not decided on the material to use for the grapevine pattern. After numerous meetings with our company, the architect settled on cast stone as the material to use to convey the historical beginnings of the community. Cast stone copings, pier caps, and water tables all were produced with a grapevine design.
All that the assignment for the grape leaf design was only a simple 2-dimensional drawing. In order to make the design, Advanced Cast Stone worked with its commercial artist to form a design that was suitable in size and relief. Rubber molds were finally made to capture the creativity of the artwork.
While molds were difficult since the amount of detail desired for the grape leaf is very subjective, its use on the various surface areas of the building further complicated mold production. The design was used on several areas of the structure, such as a typical long flat wall, on radius arches, and at curved sections in the turret areas. At each area of the building, the grape design needed to align with windows, mullions, and other elements of the building. This required careful adjustments to the mold and the pieces of stone to provide overall alignment with the other components of the building.
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The GFRC products have high structural strength thanks to fibers reinforcement integrated at the time of manufacturing. At the same time, the GFRC panels are only 3/4″ thick enabling much higher strength to weight ratio than any other manufactured stone products.
AAS is able to develop column covers that are more than four feet in diameter. Images below show halves of the column wraps that don’t require any structural support.
Four Feet Diameter GFRC Column Wraps
GFRC Column Covers – Inherent Strength of Glass Fiber Reinfoced Concrete
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The AAS team is able to provide design assist to the architect and contractor for a project. The in-house engineering support team develops detailed attachment connections that will achieve the design objectives.
The shop drawings will provide the architect and installer an opportunity to review the attachment and make the final detailing.
General Rules for attachment
- GFRC pieces up to about 4 feet x 6 feet can often be produced without an additional structural back-up. The manufacturer will add a stiffener-rib to the product back side for added support. A stiffener usually runs the height of the piece every 24 to 30 inches of the product and has very concentrated glass fiber to cement mix. The product can be attached via a veneer tie and strap, kerf and clip, or similar attachment to the structure of the building.
- Larger pieces or pieces where a stiffener-rib is not appropriate are generally hung with a metal stud back-up. The metal stud system is designed and attached to GFRC piece by the manufacturer as part of the cost of the GFRC on the project. Metal stud back-up is very similar to metal stud framing on most commercial projects, but designed with more precision. The metal stud back-up is usually attached with a grade #2 bolt to the structure of the building. There are occasions where the metal stud framing is welded to the structure. Again the specifications on the welding should follow AWS (American Welding Society) standards.
- Very large pieces (larger than 8 feet x 20 feet) will have tube steel back-up. The process is much the same as with metal studs discussed above. This back-up will be engineered by AAS.
- AAS is able to provide type of connection that is preferred by customer. GFRC provides flexibility with selection of the connection type.
- Once the connections are selected, the AAS manufacturing and design process is able to pre-engineer the connections support in the products.
- GFRC is much simpler and less expensive to install compared to other much heavier stone products. GFRC installation doesn’t require extensive support structure and heavy construction equipment at the project site.
- AAS GFRC products provide flexibility to select right application of caulk or sealants making it easier for masonry contractors not only in their installation process, but also with long term reliability of the installed projects.
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