While most high-rise buildings are often steel structures, technological advancements have allowed concrete to become a reemerging trend in high-rise construction. The Locks Tower is the one of the first residential high-rise projects in Richmond to utilize a total precast concrete structural system. The 12-story, 354,846-square-foot apartment building sits at East Byrd and South 10th streets.
Cost is often the driving factor in the precast concrete trend since labor costs are lower for high productivity, controlled environment, plant manufacturing than they are for forming, reinforcing, placing and finishing concrete in the field. Popular residential features such as higher ceilings and exposed materials are easier to achieve with concrete structures than steel construction with internal girders.
Comprising 1,535 panels, the 12-story residential tower is a virtual precast concrete LEGO set combining columns, beams and wall panels with floor and roof panels. Though it sounds simple, erecting the 12-story structure is a serious undertaking. The driving force of the project is a 1.3 million-pound Liebherr crawler crane which lifts and sets components weighing up to 92,000 pounds each. With every piece arriving via tractor trailer from the precast manufacturing facility, logistical coordination paired with safety is the greatest priority for the construction team.
The Locks Tower, the newest addition to The Locks development by The WVS Companies, also includes an attached five-story precast parking structure accommodating 358 cars with new commercial storefronts and townhomes and extending the City’s canal walk. The architect is Walter Parks Architects.