Owners of the newly expanded Girls Inc. health and wellness facility in Omaha, Neb., wanted a design that reflected their mission of being “strong, smart, and bold.” From the beginning the architect felt the scale, durability, and budget requirements for the project made insulated architectural precast concrete wall panels the obvious choice.
The 55,000-ft2 facility consists of a lower-level parking garage supporting a two-story gymnasium above. Due to the size of the surfaces and proximity to residential structures, the design team wanted to challenge what could be done with the concrete material to give the client a beautiful, energy-efficient, and cost-effective enclosure providing the highest potential return for their investment.
The designers worked closely with the precaster to create a total-precast concrete enclosure system featuring 63 white custom panels with integrated insulation that completely enclose the gymnasium. Each panel features a rhythmic, fluted pattern to break down the scale of the building, which transitions from exterior to interior spaces enticing students to touch and feel the material. The flutes cast shifting shadows throughout the day to represent the individuality and growth of the girls of this organization.
Inside the building, the interior wythe of the panels remain exposed, eliminating the need for a metal stud and drywall system. The versatility, efficiency, and aesthetic opportunity of this high-performance product reflected the strong, smart, and bold mission statement of this organization. The result is a simple, cost-effective solution with grand appeal that exceeded the owner’s expectations.