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A World of Precast

The precast concrete industry offers an incredibly diverse range of building and infrastructure products to architects, engineers, DOTs, contractors and homeowners. From structural frameworks and architectural flourishes to septic tanks and bridges, no other building material is as dynamic as precast concrete. You can find precast in many projects all over the world, some of them truly stunning works of art.

Kita Kindergarten – Göttingen, Germany

Located in the town of Göttingen, Germany, the Kita Kindergarten serves as a case study for the proactive approach to self-sufficiency and sustainability through careful attention to energy efficiency standards. The team at Despang Architekten developed multiple strategies to address the various elements that enveloped the site, ranging from thermal performance to daylighting and optimal building orientation.

In terms of space planning, the programming was tightly integrated early on into the design decision to utilize a sloping roof. The rear northern portions of the building with low height ceilings house the mechanical and restrooms. Primary circulation comprises the midway section of the fan shaped floor plan that is designed with built-in furniture and interior glazing between the main activity spaces. Effective daylighting by means of skylights in the ceilings of the hallways ensures more than adequate diffuse light during the day.  Located within the southernmost section of the building are multifunctional rooms, sleeping rooms, and staff and kitchen areas bordering the eastern elevation.

When it comes to designing for highly active uses such as kindergartens, longevity of construction and materiality play a major factor.  When it came to deciding on the material palette, Despang Architekten employed a limited number of materials – precast concrete, spruce wood, and linoleum all untreated and left raw. Utilizing factory produced precast elements in the form of insulated sandwich panels for the exterior walls and thinner slabs for interior bearing elements ensured rapid assembly and better quality control. A limited amount of joints also aided in the rapid assembly – with only a few minor interior demising walls requiring infill construction components.  As the concrete walls radiate from the centroid of the conical floor plan, their non-parallel orientation in combination with ceiling mounted wood diffusers lends itself to enhanced acoustical properties typically not associated with predominantly concrete construction.

Throughout the years the building continues to outperform the Passive House standard of 15kwh/m2 annually. The Kita Kindergarten at the Göttingen University campus stands as testament that energy efficient buildings need not be bland or stale, and through a holistic approach and attention to detail, the aesthetic, performative and humanistic qualities can cross contribute to a create better, healthier overall space to inhabit.

 

General Contractor: Dawe Göttingen
Architect:
 Despang Architekten
Architects In Charge: Günther Despang/Martin Despang
Project Architects: Philip Hogrebe/Jörg Steveker
Client: University of Göttingen
Structural and Bioclimatic Engineering (PassivHaus): Drewes and Speth Hannover
Accoustical Engineering: Reichert Hannover
Prefab Concrete: Universalbeton Heringen GmbH
Area: 512 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Jochen Stüber, Olaf Baumann


A World of Precast

The precast concrete industry offers an incredibly diverse range of building and infrastructure products to architects, engineers, DOTs, contractors and homeowners. From structural frameworks and architectural flourishes to septic tanks and bridges, no other building material is as dynamic as precast concrete. You can find precast in many projects all over the world, some of them truly stunning works of art.

Lotus Temple – New Delhi, India

The temples of the Baha’i Faith are well known for their architectural splendor, and the Temple constructed in Delhi is a continuation of this rich tradition. Before undertaking the design of the temple, the architect, Fariborz Sahba, had traveled extensively in India to study the architecture of this land and was impressed by the design of the beautiful temples, as well as by the art and religious symbols wherein the lotus invariably played an important role.

 

Inspired by the lotus flower, the design for the House of Worship in New Delhi is composed of 27 free-standing marble-clad “petals” arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides. The nine doors of the Lotus Temple open onto a central hall slightly more than 40 metres tall that can seat 1,300 people and hold up to 2,500 in all. The surface of the House of Worship is made of white marble from Penteli mountain in Greece, the same marble from which many ancient monuments (including the Parthenon) and other Bahá’í Houses of Worship are built. Along with its nine surrounding ponds and the gardens, the Lotus Temple property comprises 26 acres (105,000 m²; 10.5 ha).

 

The temple complex consists of the main house of worship, the ancillary block which houses the reception center, the library and the administrative building, and the restrooms block. The temple proper comprises a basement to accommodate the electrical and plumbing components, and a lotus-shaped superstructure to house the assembly area. The structural system includes a concrete frame and a precast concrete ribbed roof, with the entire quantity of white cement coming from Korea. Specially graded dolomite aggregates were procured from the Alwar mines near Delhi and white silica sand from Jaipur.

 

Architect: Fariborz Sahba
Structural Engineer: Flint & Neill
Contractor: ECC Construction Group of Larsen & Toubro Limited

Megan Nesius
Marketing Coordinator


A World of Precast

The precast concrete industry offers an incredibly diverse range of building and infrastructure products to architects, engineers, DOTs, contractors and homeowners. From structural frameworks and architectural flourishes to septic tanks and bridges, no other building material is as dynamic as precast concrete. You can find precast in many projects all over the world, and some of them truly stunning works of art.

Habitat 67 – Montréal, Canada

Habitat 67 began as a master’s thesis project in 1961 by Israeli/Canadian architect Moshe Safdie for his architecture program at McGill University. The driving idea and theme behind the design was that of providing a high density apartment building that would provide residents with privacy, along with peace and quiet. Eventually he was invited to develop his idea with his former thesis adviser, Louis Kahn, for Expo 67, the world’s fair that was set to take place in Montreal in 1967.
The apartment complex had 354 prefabricated units, initially forming 158 apartments; some units have since been combined for larger options and the complex now contains 146 residences. The project pioneered the design and implementation of three-dimensional prefabricated units of habitation. Every part of the building, including units, pedestrian streets and elevator cores, are load-bearing members, and units are connected to each other by post-tensioning, high tension rods, cables and welding, in order to form a continuous suspension system throughout the complex.

The project contains:

158 residences are located within the structure.
354 house units
18 street girders
6 cantilever girders
7 stair shafts
6 elevator shafts
24 precast columns
4 walkway bridges

Habitat 67 became a thematic pavilion at the world’s fair, visited by thousands of visitors who came from around the world, and during the expo also served as the temporary residence of the many dignitaries visiting Montreal.

Architect: Moshe Safdie and David, Barott, Boulva
Structural Engineer: Dr. August E. Komendant and Monti, Lavoie, Nadon
Mechanical Engineer: Huza & Thibault
Electrical Engineer: Nicholas Fodor & Associates
General Contractor: Anglin-Norcross
Precast Concrete: Francon (1966) Ltd.
Project cost: $13.5 million

Megan Nesius
Marketing Coordinator