Incorporating decorative concrete into the modernization plan of one of Charlotte's most exclusive retail outdoor shopping plazas is a tall order. Navigating a schedule that limits working hours as well as access to many of the stores and pedestrian tunnels, while also ensuring the safety of the pedestrians around the active construction site, presented an additional challenge. Following several meetings with the designer and owners, Carolina Bomanite's 12-man crew began installing concrete imprinted with an exclusive Bomanite T-graphics pattern designed specifically for this project. The shapes created by the stamping tool differed based upon viewpoint.
The design intent of this project was to modernize one of Charlotte, N.C.'s, most exclusive retail outdoor shopping plazas. The existing slate paving, wich was set on a concrete base, was beginning to come loose and create a hazard to clients.
After several meetings with the designers and the owners, white colored concrete was chosen to lighten the overall look of the paved area, and a unique imprint pattern was designed to be used exclusively for this client. Several adaptations were made to the Bomanite T-graphics pattern to create a custom-designed 4 x 4-foot tool. The shaped it created provides different looks depending on the angle of view. The "T" part of the design is a coquina texture and the area surrounding it is a limestone texture.
Carolina Bomanite, Charlotte, was chosen as general contractor for the project, and handled demolition, safety, forming, and pouring. This project provided many challenges for the 12-person crew. There were limited working hours, limited access to many of the retail stores, two pedestrian tunnels leading to parking lots and a nearby hotel, as well as safety considerations for the pedestrians walking around the active construction site. The work schedule was dictated by the closing time of the two restaurants adjacent to the plaza.
The first phase was the layout and installation of new cast-in-place planter walls and new fountain bases. Next, up to 12 inches of concrete base and 3- to 4-inch-thick slate had to be demolished, and a new stone base was laid. There were several delays, however. Old buried utilities and conduits had to be relocated, and an extensive system of large tree roots created additional work which slowed progress during the already grueling and limited work nights.
Each evening the crews began work at 11 p.m. The forming needed to be completed for the 3 to 4 a.m. pours. This allowed the concrete to set enough for the protective temporary walkways to be placed on top prior to the 10 a.m. store openings each day. In addition, every night the entire work zone and main entrance plaza paving needed to be pressure washed clean and have safety barricades installed. To help ease any inconvenience to the shop owners and their customers, work schedules were given to each shop so it would know which sections would be affected and for how long.
After two months of small, limited pours, the plaza finally was drenched in a new brighter color and pattern. It took another two months of working on a limited time schedule to finish the sealing and caulking.