Overlooking the James River in Richmond, VA, this 12-story mixed-use apartment tower is the first total precast concrete building in downtown Richmond. As the latest development in an established Richmond apartment community, the multi-family tower features 237 market-rate apartments, a two-story penthouse, and an indoor/outdoor amenity level with a swimming pool on the 10th floor. The new apartment tower is the sixth and tallest building in the existing apartment community. The other buildings, predominantly historic, are three stories and five stories tall. The white color precast and non-brick façade of this mixed-use structure are unique features for Richmond architecture but reflect the luxury aesthetic of its targeted demographic. The structure also includes precast parking levels, partially inside the tower and 12,000 SF of commercial space on the first level.
At the project's inception, the owners tasked the design and construction team with finding structural and cladding systems that would be durable, low maintenance, and fit with the industrial character of the complex's existing 19th and 20th-century warehouses turned loft apartments. The cost was also a driving factor, with local rental economics in Richmond not supporting the expense of the cast-in-place concrete frame high-rise structures found in larger cities.
After researching numerous alternatives, it became clear that a total-precast system, with precast acting as both structure and cladding, was the only solution that could balance these diverse design goals. The system is ideally suited for apartments - the thermal mass and integral continuous insulation within the wall panels give the system superior thermal performance. The concrete mass also brings superior soundproofing qualities, a key component to successful multi-family living. The combined use of precast walls and beams allowed for very large window openings for a loft-like aesthetic that compliments the apartment complex's character.
The precaster developed the project’s initial design directly with the owner’s architect at the request of the owner, incorporating 301,814-SF of the precaster’s proprietary total precast floor and roof system for 11 elevated levels of total precast solution. The total precast system’s cost efficiency and speed of construction played a significant role in the owner’s desire for a precast building. The precaster provided a total precast complete building envelope (except roofing and glass), including an architectural precast finish and paintable interior finish on precast walls. The project included several unique aspects, including an architectural finish on the transfer beams and a pool over the residences rather than on the parking deck.
The total precast system’s cost efficiency and construction speed played a significant role in the owner’s decision to move forward with a total precast solution. The project included several unique aspects: an architectural finish on the transfer beams, a paintable precast interior wall, and a pool over the residential space rather than on the parking deck.