European Investment Bank, EIB Luxembourg
Administrative purposes/office spaces
Administrative purposes/office spaces
Concrete by reinforcement
Concrete is a relatively brittle material that is strong in compression but less so in tension.
To increase its overall strength, steel rods, wires, mesh or cables may be embedded in concrete before it sets. This reinforcement, often known as rebar, resists tensile forces. By forming a strong bond, the two materials are able to resist a variety of applied forces, effectively acting as a single structural element .
PRECAST ON SITE:
In larger and more complex construction projects, a concrete production plant may be installed on the construction site or nearby. The precast elements are moved into place once they have reached their maximum strength. This reduces transportation costs and ensures the concrete will set in the same environmental conditions as the building site. This may be more necessary with structures that combine cast-in-place concrete with prefabricated elements.
PRECAST IN FACTORY, WORKSHOP:
Any concrete element can be manufactured ahead of time and transported to the site once it has set. In this case, the control over geometry, appearance, finish and strength can be as strict as necessary. It can also be ensured that the pieces will be exactly identical to one another.
Prefabricated elements can be of any type: from façade panels and pavements to decorative elements (such as cornices or capitals) and structural elements (columns, slabs, beams, etc.).
These elements may be part of a commercial catalog or specially designed for a specific project. A series of pieces may also be sold as a coordinated and interconnected system to build a complete structure or even an entire building.
In its design, the element should account for aspects such as modulation, finishes, transportation, anchoring, installation on site, junctions between panels, the creation of openings and the relationship between the panels and joinery. The element may also be given characteristics that can improve the thermal insulation of the façade, for example. In that sense, they are often part of an industrialized system that offers a variety of responses to different construction situations and maximum versatility in terms of architectural solutions.
The aesthetic possibilities of concrete in prefabricated façade panel systems are endless in terms of size, shape, color, texture, hardness and a wide range of features.
To achieve a more noticeable effect, surface treatments can be applied to the concrete after it has set to expose the aggregates and create texture, shine or roughness.
Some examples include terrazzo pavements and many types of prefabricated façade panels.
There are various exposure methods contractors can choose from, depending on the desired look and the size of the project:
- brushing and washing
- using a surface retarder
- abrasive blasting
Beams are the horizontal load-bearing elements of the frame. Columns are the vertical elements of the frame and act as the building’s primary load-bearing element. They transmit the beam loads down to the foundations.
State of Conservation
Denys Lasdun is one of the masters of Brutalist architecture in Britain, whose major work is the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. It was fundamental to the development of English architecture in the 1970s, although the process of its conception and construction was extremely complicated. Exhausted by the time it was completed, Lasdun then received the commission for the headquarters of the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg, in a location that differed radically from the dense and complex urban site of the London building. And yet, many of the design decisions in this new project were a consequence or evolution of the previous one, especially the configuration in terraces or overlapping trays of varying sizes, establishing a clear dominance of the horizontal component.
The Luxembourg building is of considerable size and was initially located in a non-urban environment. As such, the program could be spread out over a large area, in a centrifugal floor plan with four wings that stretch out into the landscape, culminating in spacious terraces that merge with the forest. The horizontal spans of the edges of these terraces, finished with prefabricated coloured concrete panels with exposed aggregate, together with the free-standing exterior pillars, are responsible for generating the building’s characteristic image.
The section in relation to the landscape is especially interesting: like other buildings by Lasdun, its massing is pyramidal; in this case, it adapts to the sloping topography so that some of the building’s wings descend into the landscape, extending the platforms on the lower floors as they slide down the mountainside. Part of this effect of merging with the landscape has been lost as the surroundings have become more densely constructed with the creation of a campus for the headquarters of corporations and European institutions.
Boulevard Konrad Adenauer 100
Luxembourg 2950 Luxembourg
Fundacion DOCOMOMO Ibérico