Precast concrete panels solidify new 'castle' apartments
Castles dot the landscape across Europe. A new castle taking shape in Pennsylvania soon will be a symbol of sustainable building practices and home to 522 apartments.
With more than 1.2 million square feet of space, Grand Castle is slated to open this spring. The structure in Grandville, Mich., was patterned after the architecture of Neuschwanstein, a 19th-century palace in southern Germany, and is being constructed with more than 1,600 precast concrete panels that typically provided a solid barrier for building foundations.
"We found a way to take them out of the ground and put them up in the air," developer Roger Lucas, co-owner of Land & Co., said in a release. "We came up with a system to attach the panels to each floor with a support system. And, because each panel could be custom built, we were able to design in openings for tilt-in windows that lend themselves to the castle design."
The architectural firm of Fugleberg Koch, which designed the structure, found the benefits of the Superior Walls system significant for the Grand Castle project. The concrete exterior surface, with its elevated density, ensures a weather-resistant, durable and low-maintenance facade, founder Robert A. Koch said. They also provide superior insulation.
“The structural strength of the panels was worthy for elevated wind loads that occur at higher elevations,” he said. “And, there was a single source composite nature of the factory product that had limited dependency on other trades to complete the building envelope.
Close to 18,000 linear feet of precast concrete panels were incorporated into the exterior of the Grand Castle structure near Grand Rapids.
When it opens, the Grand Castle apartment complex will include a 10-story tower, resort-style pool and lakefront access. "Live like a king" amenities include a fitness center, dog park, clubhouse, library, coffee shop and walking/biking trails.
"A true castle needs to be impenetrable," Lucas said. "The sturdy Superior Walls panels have helped us replicate a castle. Once completed, we believe this structure will have the beauty, durability and appeal of a modern-day castle.”