|First Polished Precast Concrete Building.|
Ten years ago, polished concrete became a practical finish for concrete with the development of chemical densifiers and affordable polishing machines. It is now an is increasingly common for floors.
But what about polished concrete walls?
Five years ago, I predicted the polishing of precast and tilt-up concrete. Yet it has taken until now to see it in practice. A project at Ohio State University, designed by Ross Barney Architects, is being constructed of polished precast panels that reflect light from dichromic glass fins.
New technologies rise and fall on an annual cycle in some industries. But construction product innovations gain market acceptance at a slower pace. Now that one early adopter has taken the step, others will follow; architects watch what their peers do, and are trained to copy (i.e., take inspiration from) the work of others. But will any precasters or manufacturer of concrete densifiers take the lead in promoting the concept?
And for the next five years? Here are some predictions:
- Polished concrete floors are often stained for color and given ornamental treatment. The Ohio state university columbus ohiosame can be done with polished precast and tilt-up walls.
- Machinery to polish precast panels in-line during production, rather than as an after process.
- Precast and tilt-up concrete are polished while panels are horizontal; is it practical to create a polishing machine that creeps up and down the side of cast-in-place walls? (I have a sketch of such a machine if any equipment manufacturer is interested.)
- There are a few concrete masonry unit manufacturers that already make burnished CMU. I would love to see units with a high polish. They could be set in a wall so that each was at a slightly different angle, creating a wall that would sparkle in sunlight.