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Texture Transforms Community Center’s Precast Cladding

Paul Steinbach
Img 5656

Img 5656Curtainwall and masonry make up less than half of the exterior of the 33,380-square-foot Lester Buresh Family Community Wellness Center in Mount Vernon, Iowa. To keep costs on the $7 million project under control, precast concrete was specified for the remaining 52 percent of the building’s skin, with individual insulated slabs measuring 29 feet tall by 10 feet wide by a foot thick delivered to the site on separate trucks and craned into position. But before installation, visual interest was added to each panel. Form inserts provided ribbed relief in some areas of the poured concrete and delineated other areas to be acid-washed or sand-blasted once the panels had cured. This resulted in three distinct textures that reflect light differently, creating tonal patterns that help reduce scale. “With the nature of the wellness center in a small town, which happens to be my hometown and where I live now, we knew that economy and efficiency was extremely important, along with the durability of the finishes — both inside and out,” says OPN project manager Matthew Stewart, who drives by the facility every day. “We were looking for an opportunity to use something that still gave us a lot of flexibility. We ended up using insulated precast panels around the building as part of the lateral structural system and in a below-grade application to retain the soil on the south side of the site. The town has really enjoyed the appearance of it.”

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