The architectural GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete) presents a unique opportunity for architects and contractors.
The panels are only 3/4″ thick and yet are strong. This minimizes the structural support requirements. The panels can achieve the look and finish of other stone products. With the AAS technology and fabrication technique, the panels can be large in size when required with intricate shapes.
For renovating the Marriott Hotel in downtown Ft. Worth, the designers wanted to use GFRC panels to conform to existing building profile conditions. The AAS team worked closely with the architect and contractor to achieve panels with more than 20 ft. of length and highly complex angles. The connections to hang the panels were built-in during the engineering and manufacturing process, simplifying the installation.
Images below show an example CAD drawing, a large panel with pre-engineered connections ready for shipment, and installation progress on the site.
CAD Drawing for One Panel
Coordination between a column cap and a cornice – Detailed engineering confirmed design feasibility and simplified installation process
Example: Custom-fabricated Large GFRC Panel
GFRC panel being Cast with Steel Frame Attachments
GFRC panel with Pre-engineered Connections Loaded for Shipping | More than 20 ft long architectural GFRC
Installation Site: Marriott Hotel, Ft. Worth, TX
Detailed Engineering for Seamless Coordination of Columns and Cornices
All three products offer considerable design flexibility and durability compared to natural stone products such as limestone. The project-specific detailed engineering and custom fabrication simplify the installation while also achieving a superior design aesthetic.
While cast stone and architectural precast use different casting techniques, the two products have similar structural properties. AAS has a track record for developing custom stone design, using either of the two products or combining the two products as required to achieve the intended design objective for a project cost-effectively.
Architectural GFRC panels are only 3/4″ thick and have an excellent strength to weight ratio, providing unique advantages over other casting techniques. The AAS GFRC product material is much more durable compared to other thin veneer panels. GFRC can match the look of other architectural stone products as well as limestone. The GFRC panels cost relatively more than other architectural stone products; however, it has specific advantages with less structural support requirements and simpler installation.
Scroll down this blog post to learn more about the cast stone, wetter precast-concrete and Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC).
Dry Vibrant-tamp Cast Stone
The dry vibrant-tamp fabrication technique allows flexibility to shape both sides of stone panels even when the shape or design of stone panels is highly complex. This offers more flexibility to realize virtually any design shape. The manufacturing process also opens up design freedom to emulate the looks of a variety of different stone types, including natural limestone. AAS has an extensive track record with projects where manufactured stone matched custom color and finish of natural stone samples.
Cast stone is very cost-effective compared to natural limestone. Learn more about the vibrant-tamp casting process in this video:
> PROJECT EXAMPLE: LA Sports HOF: Complex geometry, large size stone pieces for the interior stone veneer that achieved the architect’s design vision of complex channels of nearly Cane River.
AAS Advantage: Track Record & Experience | Design Freedom for Designers | Support System for Contractors, Masons
Dry cast-stone has comparable structural properties to wet-pour precast stone.
Wet-pour Architectural Precast Concrete Stone
The wet-pour manufacturing technique allows flexibility to embed structural steel or other reinforcements, making it more suitable for load-bearing architectural elements. In general, architectural precast concrete can achieve a more extended span or length for individual stone pieces.
Different finishes can be achieved on the architectural precast stone using post-cure treatments such as acid etching, sand-blasting, and other techniques. On heavy use application areas such as stair treads, architectural precast can retain the stone’s surface finishing for very long time spans.
The architectural GFRC is also known as lightweight concrete, offers the look and finish, as well as longevity and reliability of other stone products with much lighter weight. The proprietary manufacturing technique enables very high strength to weight ratio for the GFRC panels.
While the cost of architectural GFRC can be more than other cast stone products, it can also help with less structural support requirements and simplified installation equipment requirements.
Advanced Architectural Stone (AAS) has a dedicated customer project team working closely with customers right from the design phase. As required, the team can support customers in selecting the most appropriate product(s) application for any size projects.
In case of specific questions about your project, complete the request support form at the bottom of this page, and someone from our customer projects team will be in touch with you shortly.
Balusters are used for design accent with commercial as well as residential buildings for centuries.
AAS GFRC manufacturing technique is able to cast balusters in one piece without any seams. This enables superior design aesthetic while also simplifying the installation of the balusters at the construction site.
The fabrication method uses mold for each side or half of the baluster. The inside of the molds is sprayed with a thin layer of the GFRC mix for the desired finish.
Mold for for casting balusters
Spraying outer layer of GFRC mix for desired look and finish of balusters
Inspection, hand packing using brush for uniform surface finish quality
Inspection, hand packing using brush for uniform surface finish quality
After that the two mold pieces are held together to fill in the GFRC admixture inside. The center of the cylindrical space has 2” wide PVC, so that way the finished GFRC baluster has hollow core in the middle.
GFRC balusters cast in one piece
In a typical installation, threaded rod is passed through the hollow core in the middle. The rod is attached to the steel channel for securing balusters in place. The AAS team is able to custom design the handrail for the balustrade system so that it has groove from inside to conceal the steel channel inside.
The AAS team is able to make project specific molds as required for the custom size and shape of the balusters.
Concrete has captured the imagination of designers for thousands of years offering options and flexibility to mold it in different shapes and surface finishes.
The architectural GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete), also known as lightweight concrete, is able to extend the range of possibilities that can be realized using concrete. The AAS fabrication methodology empowers designers to customize product shape, color, finish, as well as attachment connections to achieve the design intent. GFRC is much simpler to install than other cast stone products or limestone.
Applications: wall units, window wall units, mullions, spandrels, column covers or wraps, cornices & banding, trim, soffits, sunscreens, custom cladding, veneer, or facade design, coping, interior features, etc.
Designers have the flexibility to achieve deep reveals, complex shapes, short radius curves, wide sweeping arcs, as well as sharp angels.
With a face mix, a GFRC panel is indistinguishable in exterior appearance from traditional precast or cast stone. The AAS team has the track record to use GFRC in place of limestone for high-end design aesthetic at fraction of the cost.
A wide range of surface finishes can be achieved by using exposed aggregate faces such as acid wash, sandblasting, integral color, white cement, and texture.
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.
This blog post shows design assist process, as well as custom fabrication of the large size GFRC panels for the Dickies Arena project. The Arena is sited on the Will Roger’s Memorial Center campus in Ft. Worth, TX.
Custom GFRC Panels Design, Fabrication
The architects for the project aim to develop Art Deco design elements on facades of the arena to match with the 1930s era experience on the campus. The building facade design uses large size GFRC panels with intricate design details in them.
The AAS team developed series of custom molds to match the large size and intricate design details required for the project.
The mockups are created to confirm the shapes, details in the fabricated stone panels and color matching.
AAS works closely with architects and contractors to review details and confirm design feasibility.
AAS has capabilities now to manufacture GFRC products in its Ft. Worth plant as well.
Art, Engineering, Design Craftsmanship, Technology for Custom Mold with Specific Design Pattern
Refining Specific Details in the Mold using the Personalized Design Touch after CNC Machining
Custom Designed Mold to Match Specific GFRC Panel Size and Shape with Stringent Tolerance requirements
GFRC Art Panels for Art Deco Design Accent at Dickies Arena, Fort Worth
Image below shows exterior elevation on the west side with GFRC panels integrated with the brick veneer.
Fort Worth Arena Partial Elevation – West Side | GFRC Panels Integrated in Exterior Veneer of the Building Along with Brick Veneer
This project also show how cast stone and GFRC can be combined with seamless color matching opening up opportunities for simplified construction, value engineering, and at the same time unparalleled design freedom.