Published: Jan 1991
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The author traces the discovery and use of precast concrete in his work in partnership with Marcel Breuer, one of the foremost figures of 20th century architecture, and later, in his own practice.
From the first use at La Gaude, France, for an IBM research center, to a recent high-rise office building in Jersey City, New Jersey, precast concrete for facade treatment has proven economical, free of the vagaries of field labor, quickly installed, of great durability, and easy to maintain.
But what is of great interest to the author is the multitude of visual variations of precast. Citing examples, he shows how his aesthetic sense responds to the material's flexibility: in form, use of color, texture, and techniques to expose the aggregate. He demonstrates his technical response to the material, its use in its load-bearing capacity, and as a building skin. Illustrations show how the sculptural elements of the architecture are a direct response to the technical possibilities of the material.
In closing, the author states that, based on all its qualities, precast concrete “is truly a material of our time.”
facades, precast concrete, architecture
Partner, Herbert Beckhard Frank Richlan & Associates, New York City, NY