Precast concrete architectural panels played a key role in achieving the dramatic aesthetic design sought for The Carlyle (Century Wilshire Condominiums), a 24-story, luxury high-rise condominium project in Los Angeles, CA. Complicating the production of the required wall and spandrel panels, as well as column covers, was that each floor contains 48 corners, creating a highly vertically articulated structure.
With a kinetic, piston-like twin-tower design, the building features a boomerang floor-plan configuration that captures streetscape views to the east and west with outstretched arms. The 65 ft (20 m) front setback provides opportunities for passersby to inspect the changing visage of the building’s architectural image as they move along the 200 ft (61 m) boulevard frontage.
The design harks back to classic tripartite architectural systems, with a base, shaft, and capital. The base consists of limestone- and granite clad precast concrete panels with some unique joinery used to create overlapping stones, epoxied cornerstones, and 1 in. (25 mm) of recessed, exposed precast concrete backup on the horizontal stone joints with a smooth finish.
The shaft portion features 23 stories of residential units, 4 per floor, clad with 5-in.- (130 mm) thick architectural precast concrete wall and spandrel panels. Reveal patterns predominantly in a 2 ft × 2 ft (0.6 m ×0.6 m) size with random light- to heavy sandblast patterns were used to simulate the limestone on the base. The precaster masked off different portions of each panel in the yard prior to finishing them to create some deeper sandblasted finish, creating more variety.
In all, 762 panels were used, with 80% of them consisting of corner column covers. Due to their varied shapes and sizes, as well as the consistent high-quality finish desired, the panels required more than 1200 castings. The 2 ft (0.6 m) reveals and metal accents emphasize the classical architectural motifs while providing a contemporary appearance.