GFRC Cladding for the Marriott Hotel
The architect for the Marriott Hotel in downtown Ft. Worth, TX, Merriman Anderson Architects, had the design objective of achieving a stone’s look and feel while cladding the building elevation on the three sides. They decided to use the Architectural GFRC, as the panels provide design flexibility and a very high strength-to-weight ratio, simplifying the installation.
The GFRC panels were required to seamlessly fit in with the existing building profile, requiring unique shapes and highly complex geometry for the individual pieces. The design intent was also to use large continuous panels rather than breaking them down into smaller sizes. The AAS team employed detailed engineering and CNC machining technology to fabricate custom molds for casting the panels. The team confirmed design feasibility and installation details using detailed review and revisions of CAD drawings.
The Marriott Hotel is in the busy Ft. Worth downtown area. There was a five-week window with planned street closures to complete the installation. AAS worked closely with DMG Masonry to manufacture and deliver the panels in a very tight timeframe.
SETTINGS PLAN – EAST SIDE ELEVATION
The CAD drawing in this section shows the settings plan for the east side of the hotel elevation. Some of the GFRC panels used in this project are more than 20′ long. The designers preferred large size continuous panels rather than breaking them down into smaller pieces.
SECTIONAL CAD DRAWINGS EXAMPLES – PROFILE, ATTACHMENT DETAILS
GFRC PANELS – TECHNOLOGY, FABRICATION TECHNIQUE
The AAS team achieved the intended design effects on the GFRC panels using precisely fabricated molds and a specific spraying technique to cast the panels. The steel frame attachments were pre-engineered and built-in the large cornice and column panels during the manufacturing process. A detailed review of the attachment details early in the design phase minimized delay and risk during the construction process.
The GFRC panels are only 3/4″ thick. Still, the panels are durable with product life that is comparable to other stone products. With a very high strength to weight ratio of GFRC, large panels needed minimal structural support. The spraying technique for molding the GFRC panels ensured consistent product properties throughout the building elevations.
The manufacturing team designed specific jigs to detach the molds after the panels’ casting process was completed. The demarkation indent lines on the panels were precisely matched to emulate the look of the real stone.