WHERE ARCHITECTURE MEETS THE VERSATILITY OF PRECAST

ISSUE OCTOBER/ NOVEMBER 2019

ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS ARE INCREASINGLY USING COMPUTER GENERATED VISUALISATION TO ENGAGE WITH PRECAST CONCRETE, DEMONSTRATING HOW NEW TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED INTO THE MATERIAL HAS EXPANDED THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE, WRITES NATIONAL PRECAST CONCRETE ASSOCIATION CEO SARAH BACHMANN.

Computer-generated images are increasingly commonplace in the architectural profession, as reflected in recent work produced by Leighton Elliott, a second-year architecture student at the University of South Australia (UniSA). Emphasising the use of precast concrete, Leighton’s latest project is a multi-faith chapel in the heart of the Adelaide CBD. With multiple spaces for public interaction, many components of Elliott’s design have been represented with precast concrete.

The design features a 200 mm chamfered louvre precast wall with a rebate to allow for signage and long span hollowcore flooring acting as an access route to a public gallery space. It also comprises a precast concrete bench at the western facade to allow for public outdoor seating while also containing native vegetation.

In recent years we have seen the options for precast grow, with more use of form liners to create patterns, staining to offer a long term and low maintenance colour solution, photocatalytic coatings to self-clean while delivering environmental benefits, and the ability to surface-etch images.

It’s essential that students are aware of these options and proficient in architectural software programs when they finish university; that is today’s reality and of clear benefit for the client. While Elliott’s work on his latest project was generated through the use of hand sketching in the early stages of design development, he has also engaged programs such as Autodesk Revit and Vray by Chaos Group to render his final concept. He is currently producing refined visuals to present his work to his tutors and lecturers.

Within the Bachelor of Architectural Design degree at UniSA, students participate in multiple construction tutorials, where there is a strong focus on compliance with Australian Standards, codes and building regulations. Consistent application of these is encouraged throughout the degree to ensure graduates enter the workforce well-equipped with knowledge of their requirements. This has led Elliott to ensure that his precast elements comply with Australian Standards and codes, including in particular, AS 3600:2018 Concrete structures and AS 3610:2018 Formwork for concrete.

Architecture practices often outsource the production of their renders; firms such as LAN architecture in Paris, France and Mir in Bergen, Norway specialise in architectural visualisation for large scale projects for practices such as David Chipperfield Architects, Bjarke Ingels Group, Zaha Hadid, Hassell and many more. Binyan, an Australian based architectural visualisation company, is leading the industry here, producing renders for firms and inspiring students like Elliott.

“Visualisation software helps architects and students to quickly and accurately select appropriate concrete finishes, whilst also pushing the boundaries of various precast solutions into new forms,” he says. “I’m looking forward to exploring the possibilities of precast representation in architectural visualisation in the future.”■

“I’m looking forward to exploring the possibilities of precast representation in architectural visualisation in the future.”

Leighton Elliott, second-year architecture student, UniSA.

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