Perched on top of a hill in
a bucolic rural community, the Salas Regionales del Golfo in Xalapa, Mexico,
serves as a beautiful and modern symbol of justice.
demonstrates the high-performance attributes of precast concrete," says Erick
Ginard, communication manager for Pretecsa, the precaster and specialty
engineer on the project.
The building, which is the legal system
headquarters for the state government, is a rectangular prism atop a
cast-in-place concrete pedestal surrounded by gardens and reflecting pools.
The facade features 373 architectural precast concrete panels with white and
beige marble aggregates and a light acid-etched finish.
technology and its precision were the key to defining the unique look needed,"
Ginard says. "The austere design blends a harmonic web of straight and exact
colored precast pieces with large mullions and modern windows that open up to
the privileged surrounding view."
The ground-floor structure features
spaces for public and social functions, with two open patios to bring in light
and natural ventilation. The enormous rectangular prism sits above that floor,
jutting out in a perpendicular line, lodging penal rooms and courts.
Lights are positioned to follow continuous lines between the mullions to
create columns of light framed with precast concrete, illuminating the
building and surrounding area each night.
Creating the sober image
expressed in the design presented challenges related to manufacture and
precise execution, Ginard says. "Architectural precast facade was an ideal
solution to solve both requirements."
The precast concrete panels were manufactured and installed with minimum waste and at a dynamic pace, which aided the short schedule and helped maintain a clean working environment. It also limited the number of skilled tradespeople required on the site, which was a major risk factor on the project because finding such talent in the remote community would have been difficult.
The use of precast concrete also minimized the effect of weather on construction, which coincided with the beginning of Mexico's rainy season.
"Installation was executed with a high degree of accuracy within the schedule, enabling the finish of the work despite continuous heavy rains and thunderstorms faced during this period," Ginard says.
The precast concrete panels were erected in less than 60 days, allowing the team to enclose the space at a very early stage of the project, providing protection to the construction workers who dealt with the interior finishes and preventing vandalism and damage from the rains.