What the GFRC!

What the GFRC!

GFRC is the wave of the future. GFRC is the best thing since sliced bread. GFRC is the absolute hottest topic that everyone that is anyone is talking about. Just uttering the words GFRC make you cool; so if you want to impress your designer/architect friends read on and take notes.

 The truth of the matter is that GFRC really is one of the coolest things that no one is talking about. GFRC stand for “glass fiber reinforced concrete“. But don’t ever say that, because you will lose all “street cred” and just be another design geek. But from one design geek to another, let me give you the lowdown. Concrete has long been heralded for its simple straight forward strength and beauty. Since the mid-twentieth century it has held a special place in Modernist’s hearts world wide, but was often accused of being cold, overly stark, and institutional.

Sadly this has been a difficult reputation to abandon.  Because of it’s relative high strength to weight ratio and intrinsic ability to be formed into very complex forms with little to no external reinforcement glass fiber reinforced concrete has seen a slow resurgence in recent history, especially in the commercial facade industry. But it is now coming onto the design scene with momentum and promise. Originally developed in Russia in the 1940’s, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that it really started being used widespread. I know what you are thinking, “The 1970’s! That is not the kind of cutting edge technology I need to catch up on.” But wait. Even though it has been around for nearly half a century, recent chemical advancements have brought GFRC back from the brink and breathed new possibilities into concrete; especially in the hands of creative and innovative thinkers. We need to rescue concrete from its cold bleak past and usher it into the warm exciting promise of today. I am going to resist getting technical here, since there is plenty that has already written for the interested. But what I am wanting to do is encourage/shame you into thinking of GFRC as the romantic compelling creative material that it is. Because it is reinforced using AR (alkali-resistant) glass fibers and polymers it can be cast considerably thinner and in more complex forms than traditional concrete. By the way, “AR fibers” is another great term to throw around to make everyone else think you are especially smart, hip, and good looking. Because of the AR glass reenforcement it has impressive compressive strength coupled with very high flexural and tensile strengths that make it much more adaptable and versatile than traditional concrete. (If you can casually work that sentence into a conversation, you are well on your way to being the coolest guy your friends don’t call anymore.) I hope this has been informative (but not too much; I’ve gotta keep my edge), and if you would like to know more about GFRC or the subtleties of hip designer culture, give us a call.

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