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Eagle Ridge Apartments

Owners of the Eagle Ridge residential development wanted to create a large-scale community where families could enjoy the benefits of safe, durable homes with all the amenities. But the remote location in Fort Murray, Alberta, limited options for both transporting materials and bringing in trades. Designers used a total-precast concrete system to produce a cost-effective and attractive design.

Interior shear wall panel cast indoors in Edmonton plant

Using precast concrete components allowed most of the labour to be performed where more skilled labour was available, says Rick Lewis, project manager for Gibbs Gage Architects in Calgary. It also allowed construction to efficiently progress year round, which would not have been possible with other construction methods.

254 mm (10 in) hollow core prestressed floor and roof slabs

The project was constructed in two phases; with phase one consisting of five six-story and four four-story buildings on two sites. Phase two features 13 buildings and is still being constructed. Each floor has an average of 18 unites, ranging in size from studios to two-bedroom units. A typical floor contains approximately 151 hollow core slabs, 21 interior shear walls, 22 balcony slabs, 6 balcony privacy walls, 4 columns, 4 stair risers, and 48 exterior insulated wall panels.

Insulated exterior sandwich wall panels have the windows installed at the precast plant

The buildings are erected over an underground parking garage. A typical 6 storey building is erected in 62 days.

Fast erection of an exterior insulated panel – selected panels were cast with a brick finish

"From an acoustic and quality perspective, [the developers] find that the public is more comfortable with concrete as the primary construction material," says Lewis. The developers also took advantage of precast concrete’s thermal mass, using rigid insulation in sandwich wall panels to provide high energy efficiency.

Balcony details

Portions of the exterior precast concrete wall panels contain a brick pattern formed using a plastic form liner. Different stains were applied to the panels, covering only the brick textures, leaving the mortar joints concrete gray. "This process replicates an exterior brick wall almost perfectly."

Furnished model suite

Judges’ comments:
"A fairly conventional, market-driven housing solution with some great precast concrete innovations. We especially liked the balcony details, which were a great solutions for assembly, moisture control, and a thermal break from the interior of the building. It fit together like a bookshelf in a rabbeted cabinet case – secure and simple."

Architect: Gibbs Gage Architects, Calgary, AB, Canada
Engineer: TRL & Associates, Calgary
Owner/general contractor: Centron Residential Corp., Calgary
Precaster: Lafarge Canada Inc., (Precast Division), Edmonton, AB
Precast concrete specialty engineer: Kassian Dyck Associates, Calgary
Precast concrete components: 36,000 pieces (11,000 in phase one and 25,000 in phase two) including insulated wall panels, interior shear walls, hollow-core slabs balcony slabs, balcony privacy walls, columns, and stair risers
Images: Tucker Photography
Precast project cost: $120 million ($40 million in phase one, $80 million in phase two)

For more information, you can visit the original project here.

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