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
The AAS team provides detailed CAD drawings to explain how to install the architectural cast stone.
The settings plan describes drawings for different sections with specific descriptions to hang the stone. Customers get comprehensive installing planning support and drawings that show how to attach every stone panel. This is integrated into the AAS methodology for the project-specific custom fabrication of the architectural stone products.
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.
The AAS design and engineering process includes details for installation anchorage to confirm the final design aesthetic in the initial review, design assist process. With detailed drawings and coordination with masons and contractor, installation completes very smoothly.
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.
GFRC products have pre-engineered, built in connections that simplifies the onsite installation.
See in this video, examples of drawings and images of products being installed at the SMU Delta Gamma Sorority House project.
AAS has bandwidth and a well developed system to work closely with architects, contractors and masons for every project. Installation support details are designed with intent of not only realizing architect’s desired design vision, but also simple, easy installation.
As required, project team works with customers in selecting combination of products that would achieve design cost effectively.