Who says you can only find impressive castles in Europe? Not Roger Lucas, owner of Grand Castle apartment community in Grandville, Mich.
During the Spring of 2018, Lucas will see his dream of a creating a stunning, castle-like structure in America turn into reality when his 522-unit apartment structure opens. With more than 1.2 million square feet of space, Grand Castle was patterned after the architecture of Neuschwanstein, a 19th century palace in southern Germany. Helping achieve the castle-like look are more than 1,600 precast concrete panels supplied by Great Lakes Superior Walls.
"These panels are typically used for foundations but we found a way to take them out of the ground and put them up in the air," says Lucas, co-owner of Land & Co. "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," says Robert A. Koch, founder of Fugleberg Koch. "The structural strength of the panels was worthy for elevated wind loads that occur at higher elevations. And, there was a single source composite nature of the factory product that had limited dependency on other trades to complete the building envelope.
"We also found the superior insulation standard in the product that could be achieved for a high-efficiency building mechanical system. We're fortunate that the manufacturing facility for Great Lakes Superior Walls was close to the construction site. This sped up delivery processes for the many panels needed. All together, these factors made the Superior Walls panels the ideal product to specify on the Grand Castle exterior."
Close to 18,000 linear feet of precast concrete panels were incorporated into the exterior of the Grand Castle structure, located near Grand Rapids.
"I believe this is the largest project using Superior Walls in the company's history," says Dave VanBaren, president of Great Lake Superior Walls. "We started production of the custom panels for this project in November of 2016 and worked for more than a year on the manufacturing aspects of the panels.
"To align with the site production schedule we made deliveries on a regular basis to the job site. Once the XiTM panels were on site, a special erecting company took over and performed the installation. Each panel was set on a concrete ledge and secured to the structure. These panels will do a great job long term of providing both the decorative and insulating factors that the project developer wanted."
The Grand Castle apartment complex is expected to open in the Spring of 2018. When it does, the impressive structure 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," says Lucas. "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 ... and that residents truly will savor their living experience at Grand Castle."