Metal Stud Precast
by Michael Chusid
Although precast concrete is an outstanding architectural material, its heavy weight can limit where and how it's used. A recently completed project demonstrates how a relatively new type of lighter-weight hybrid wall system combining cold-formed metal studs and precast concrete can expand opportunities to apply precast technologies.
The new Munger Research Center in San Marino, California adds 90,000 square feet (8,400 square meters) of space to the Huntington Library, home to an important collection of rare books, an extensive botanical garden, and a museum of fine art. The new building adds laboratories and work rooms for the conservation of historic documents, rare-book storage, administrative offices, and a reading room for scholars.
Design objectives were not only to safely house the library's collections, within a limited budget and tight schedule, but to blend with the neoclassical architectural style of the Huntington's original buildings.
Library director David Zeidberg worked with design-build contractor, Earl Corporation. Early in the project, they identified precast concrete as an appropriate cladding for the building's steel structure. It could be finished to match the plaster and natural stone of the existing buildings; precasting panels off site could accelerate construction; and its durability would make it suitable for the 100-year service life projected for the facility. >>>
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The Munger Research Center offers a contemporary reinterpretation of the neoclassical architecture of the Huntington Library and Gardens. Thin-shell precast concrete panels were used for the exterior walls.
Photo: Metal Stud Crete
One of the original, historic buildings of the Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Photo: Kevin Chumsaratoon
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