Fluted FRP Column Forms Used in L.A.'s
Avenue Of The Stars Architectural Gem

As a centerpiece at the heart of Los Angeles' Century City/Beverly Hills region, the 42-story, 147-unit luxury condominium tower known as 'The Century' is being designed to be an elliptical epicenter of upscale living on the Avenue of the Stars.

Designed New York's Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP, every imaginable detail has been nuanced to achieve the epitome of elegance including approximately 256 fluted concrete finished columns created with customized fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) fluted round column forms produced by Molded Fiber Glass Construction Products.

The 82 000 m2 Century Project began construction in June 2007 and is slated completion in December 2008. The tower is supported by an interior moment frame system with a 5500 m3 concrete mat foundation with an exterior skin combining sculptured pre-cast concrete and stone cladding. Upon its opening, residents will experience 4 m fluted concrete finished columns accentuating the decorative élan of the floor-to-ceiling window balconies on the upper-level exterior of 26 of building's 42 floors (8 per floor). The final effect will create a visual evolution of West Coast upscale living with unparalleled panoramic views stretching from downtown, to across the Santa Monica Mountains and Pacific Ocean.

Architectural firm of record HKS, Inc. enlisted the project's concrete contractor Webcor Concrete to secure a source for the design's unique fluted column forms. After considering steel and plastic concepts, Webcor contracted MFG-CP, who specializes in a complete range of custom and standard fiberglass-reinforced thermo-set composite column forms, to custom-build 15 fluted column forms - in addition to a multitude of standard forms to be used throughout the tower.

The goal was to create a unique fluted design to provide flexible stability for the 4 m scale during concrete pour, and deliver a lavishly smooth finish. To optimize production, delivery, assembly and pour/peal time on-site, MFG-CP settled on a 4-piece design. According to MFG-CP engineering manager Eric Brace, "We utilized the 4-piece design vs the 2-piece so it could be stripped in pieces during production to ensure a smoother finish and capture the meticulous luxury of the Stern/HKS design specifications."

Upon assembly of the forms, standard rebar and base specifications; approximately three 2,3m3 of self-consolidated concrete mix were required for each column pour in a standard monolithic pour sequence. According to Webcor's senior superintendent Ryan Isbell, "Construction to-date is meeting the aggressive 6-day-cycle (one-floor every six days) as the fluted forms are an easy pour, taking approximately 2-4 min per column." He also noted that, "The result is a unique exposed concrete flute-effect with a smooth architectural finish."

According to HSK Inc.'s architect Patrick Treadway, "The tower's fluted concrete columns were more cost-efficient than the originally conceived pre-cast or stone options and provided a practical alternative for time, design and efficiency."

MFG Construction Products Company, formed in 1962 and a charter member of the World of Concrete, manufactures a complete range of one-piece round column forms, dome and pan forms for one-way and two-way joist slab floors, and customer forms for cast-in-place concrete construction applications. Made of fiberglass-reinforced thermo-set composites, MFG concrete forms can significantly reduce finishing costs and are fully reusable.

Source: MFG Construction Products Company

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