An Artful Concrete Wall in the Making
We had some fun with a concrete wall that we created for a modern home makeover.
We changed the look of the house by designing and applying a new siding and a metal
roof. With it came a new color and modern lighting scheme .
The biggest punch, however, in transforming this 70’s style house into a modern dwelling
comes from a new entry area. It is designed around a transformed engagement in the
approach to the front door and the front door itself. The ensemble includes a butterfly
roof, a carbon steel and wood structure, stainless steel cable rails, a one-of-a-kind
kiss ass special engineered 7’x7’ rotating pivot door (details soon to come), and
a set of concrete walls.
At this stage of the game we were dealing with the two cast-in-place concrete walls
and found both, our clients and our concrete crew, to be amiable for some extra attention.
The general design was set, that is the size, proportions, and situation, as well
as its spatial engagement with the house and the approach sequence. We wanted to
seize the opportunity and insure a truly beautiful and artful constructional expression,
Besides taking measures to create a smooth, nearly polished finish, we played with
the color of the concrete and the form itself. As far as the color is concerned
we simply used an integrated color pigment that was added to the concrete mixture
at the concrete plant. We went with “Davis Colors” and choose a dark charcoal grey
out of their color palette. The slurry arrived almost black on the site. As we
took off the formwork it had already grayed out. We will see what the curing process
will do during the next month. After that we are planning to seal it with a clear
concrete sealant to give it the final shiny wet look that we are after.
As for the formwork? - This is where we really got to have some fun. Our intention
was to create a crevasse, an oversized stylized fissure into the taller of the two
walls. This one is a 5’ wide and 12’ tall freestanding slab. It is just 9 inches
thick. It’s a tall, unnerving piece that brings the entry into scale and dramatizes
the approach to the front door as it squeezes you between itself and the house.
To create the “crack” we had to modify the formwork. Here are some of the steps
After some initial sketches we started with testing out several different methods
to create an inverted crevasse, a hump, if you will. It had to be sturdy to resist
the forces of the concrete, but flexible to be able to be removed after the pour.
It had to withhold the chemical reactions of the concrete. And we had to be able
to shape it to a form we liked.
After a few days of curing we removed the formwork. Our Styrofoam “hump” came out
beautifully. It helped to be able to scrape out the foam. The 6 mil plastic then
disengaged form the concrete like a charm.
As for the crevasse - We were speechless. Just perfect. The rectangular pieces on
the top are forms that will be removed next. They will leave rectangular gaps that
will engage with trellis rafters towards the house.
Both the fissure and the color are just drop-dead gorgeous. As mentioned, the final
touch is going to be a clear sealant that will turn this slab into wet dark mysterious
piece of pure sexy! ;)