The 80,000 square foot (7,432 metre) Three Rivers Convention Centre in Kennewick, Washington, provides an impressive meeting place for the Tri-Cities area. With dramatic sweeping glass and concrete block, the commercial building offers a thoroughly modern presence along with natural colours and textures that reflect the region’s desert and rivers.
According to the convention centre design, the concrete block was specified in a variety of colours and textures to achieve the desired design while ensuring a cost-effective and low-maintenance solution.
“Early on, we decided to use a material that would look indigenous to the area and be easily maintained”, said Rustin Hall, Principal at ALSC Architects.
The choice was masonry concrete block in three colours and a variety of textures—split face to expose the aggregate and texture, ground face to create a natural stone appearance, and smooth blocks. A critical element to the success of the project was ensuring colour consistency between the convention centre design phase and commercial building construction.
DRY-BLOCK® integral water repellant block admixture and DRY-BLOCK® mortar admixture from GCP were specified to minimise moisture intrusion.
DRY-BLOCK® provides long-term water repellency, which reduces surface staining and promotes colour consistency. Often during construction, interior walls are exposed to the elements, so DRY-BLOCK® was not only specified for the commercial building’s exterior, but interior.
The convention centre design also specified several areas where the concrete block finish wraps from the exterior of the building, past a wall of glass. “In places where we were concerned about a colour shift from an exterior sealer that could change the appearance of the block, using DRY-BLOCK® enabled us to ensure consistent colour and it worked beautifully”, noted Hall.
“Once block gets wet from exposure to the elements, it can be a real problem to dry and the efflorescence is hard to eliminate”, said Hall. “We used good construction practices to keep moisture out of the interior masonry during construction. DRY-BLOCK® is incorporated throughout the entire block, so water doesn’t penetrate if the block does get wet from the elements”.
The end result is a grand meeting space with a protective exterior finish that will provide low-maintenance over the life of the commercial building.
“We’ve had very good success with DRY-BLOCK®”, said the concrete producer on the project, Don Grubenhoff of Western Materials. “It’s not just water-repellent, but the buildings stay cleaner and brighter, too”.
With a glistening new convention centre design drawing meetings from throughout the region, that’s undoubtedly just what Kennewick officials had in mind.
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Last Updated: 2021-07-27