A creative combination of architectural precast concrete panels in varying positions and textures creates a pictorial composition in a rustic, brutalist style for this academic center in Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico. The unique shape for the 12-story CEDETEC building, which from a distance resembles a cylindrical circuit board, was achieved with more than 300 curved architectural precast concrete panels cast with a white-marble aggregate.
The building, which is dedicated to technology education and academic research, houses classrooms and laboratories for the development of low-cost energy and sustainable-design techniques, digital systems, prototypes, multimedia, and network systems. As such, officials wanted an architectural plan that exalted creativity, research, and knowledge.
The curved precast concrete panel sections were combined in different positions to create pictorial compositions, which minimize the required casting beds while achieving a varied look. The variety of the façade appearance was enhanced with randomly placed embedded windows. Imitation tier wires were cast into the panels to simulate a cast-in-place look, and the panels were attached to a cast-in-place frame.
The combination of designs contributed to the building’s objective of communicating a sober and innovative image in harmony with its essential function. It also was accomplished quickly: The panels ranged in size from 26 ft2 to 97 ft2 (2.4 m2 to 9.0 m2) and were erected in three months.