Page B3.1 . 13 June 2007                     
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    SoCal Concrete

    by Michael Chusid

    The Rice Residence, on a hillside above Los Angeles, expresses an idyllic Southern California lifestyle with daylight saturating every room, a floor plan that encourages casual indoor-outdoor living, and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

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    While some buildings demand to be the center of attention, this structure defers to the natural beauty of the landscape and the activities of its occupants. It's not until the ebullient homeowner, Ed Rice, says, "Come on, I want you to see the roof!" that a visitor realizes the structure of the building is as exciting as its architecture.

    There is no doubt about it Edward K. Rice, FACI, is a concrete man. Not only has he been granted 19 patents in concrete and construction technology, but he also co-founded and served as president of T.Y. Lin & Associates an engineering firm known for concrete innovation. Rice has also owned a concrete construction company and taught engineering and material science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He even has a fully equipped concrete laboratory in his basement, where he continues his quest for improved concrete.

    So in 1963, when it came time to build a home for his growing family, it was only natural for Rice to apply all-concrete construction and make use of then-leading-edge technologies.

    Rice built his house on concrete piers drilled into bedrock to secure the structure against the landslides that claim a few Southern California hillside houses every rainy season. Walls and partitions are a composite of two wythes of solid 4- by 16- by 2-1/2 inch- (100- by 400- by 65-millimeter-) thick concrete masonry units (CMUs) separated by a 3-inch- (75-millimeter-) wide gap filled with reinforced concrete. They act as deep beams spanning between piers and resist seismic forces. The walls also carry the post-tensioned concrete slabs that form the second floor and roof.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    Built in 1963, the Rice Residence was one of the first buildings to use shrinkage-compensating concrete made with Type K cement for roofs and floor decks.
    Photo: CTS Cement Manufacturing Corp.

    ArchWeek Image

    Rice Residence, view from the northeast. The flat concrete roof deck has never leaked, despite not being protected with roofing or waterproofing.
    Photo: CTS Cement Manufacturing Corp.


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