Article No: 90

2006-05-02 07:07:47
No 'basement-feel' in this Mediterranean tilt-up
By: Wendy O'Bryan Ward

Photography courtesy of the Tilt-up Concrete Association

The United States is one of the few countries in the world where wood frame construction is still viewed as "the way to build" when it comes to residential construction. Europe and other parts of the world have been using masonry and concrete for centuries. Australia, New Zealand and many other countries regularly build with concrete, including tilt-up construction.

The American perception of concrete as a residential building material is that it has a "basement-type" feel. Never mind the durability, low maintenance, fire and wind resistance, and conservation of our dwindling timber supplies--perception is key. The recent surge in the use of insulating concrete forms (ICF) has helped soften the negative connotations of concrete housing, but changing the public opinion will require more.

The Tilt-Up Association gives its annual Tilt-Up Achievement Awards, and the entries all debunk the basement perception by creating a home indistinguishable from any of those typically seen in an upscale residential community.

The Hutchinson residence in Lincoln, Neb. is one such house. The Mediterranean style house is located between an ancient salt lake in the backyard and a saline wetland and pond in the front.

The exterior walls of the project are 9.5 inches thick with 2 inches of rigid insulation sandwiched between. The panels were left exposed on both interior and exterior. Many of the special openings and arches evident in the project were formed using foam insulation cut to order by a local fabricator.
The 4,500-square-foot home has four baths, four bedrooms, a main floor country kitchen and a small second-story kitchen. It is a two-story slab-on-grade, featuring two second story decks that are cast-in-place concrete. There is a loft office overlooking the two-story space and adjoining the front deck.

There is a large exterior atrium at the front entry, and an adjoining second story at the interior entry. The home also has two, two-stall garages.

The home was designed by Hutchinson Design PC of Lincoln, and the tilt-up construction was by Tilt-Up Concrete Inc., also of Lincoln.

Wendy O'Bryan Ward is vice president of Constructive Communication Inc., an advertising and marketing communications launched in 2001 to serve the needs of technical and professional service firms. She is the author of articles on a variety of concrete, construction, design and facilities management industries. Ward may be contacted at noSpam("wobryan", ""); wobryan@constructivecommunication.comwobryan at