Architectural precast concrete is a child of the 20th century and modern technology, but it can trace its lineage back to ancient history. As such, it is a building material almost without precedent. Concrete in its cruder forms was used by the Romans in the construction of their aqueducts. Europe refined the time-tested formula in the 19th century, developing reinforced concrete that combined the compressive properties of concrete and the tensile strength of steel. Continuing technological growth and industrialization created a genuine need for new techniques and materials that could be used in prefabricated construction. Architectural precast concrete was developed to fulfill this need.
Improvements in fabricating processes allow architectural precast concrete to be produced in almost any color, form, or texture, making it an eminently practical and aesthetically pleasing building material. The term architectural precast concrete encompasses all precast concrete units employed as elements of architectural design whether defined to stand alone as an architectural statement or to complement other building materials. Concrete’s moldability offers the freedom to sculpt the structure’s facade in imaginative ways. It is difficult to imagine an architectural style that cannot be expressed with this material. Precast concrete is not only compatible with all structural systems, it can be designed to harmonize with, and complement, all other materials.
Architectural precast concrete combines maximum freedom of architectural expression with the economy of mass production of repetitive precast concrete elements.
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