Disney Frontierland Expansion Wins the Decorative Concrete Council’s Award for Cast-in-Place Special Finishes Over 5,000SF

The Decorative Concrete Council awarded the Disney Frontierland Expansion project the “Cast in Place Special Finishes Over 5,000SF” this week in a virtual ceremony. The goal of this project was to prepare the Disneyland park for the new Star Wars attraction. In addition to four tunnels, multiple retaining walls and a marina, Largo’s scope included a concrete trestle bridge for the railroad at the Rivers of America attraction. Although the visual aspect of the end product is exquisite, the details that were put into the fabrication of the two elements of the structure; the columns and hammerheads, and the concrete mix design used to simulate an aged wooden railroad trestle bridge, is also noteworthy.

The columns started in the back lots of Walt Disney Imagineering as an image in the mind of the design team. This image was transformed into approximately 50 lineal feet of hand carved foam positive. This was reviewed by the Disney team to confirm their vision and sent out to Fitzgerald Formliners to confirm that the positive would produce a usable form liner. A number of changes were made in the foam positive to ensure that no negative spaces existed in the positive to allow for smooth removal of the form liner. To allow for proper alignment of the four columns that attached to each of the twelve hammerheads, relative to each other, the column forms were fastened to a wall form.

With all of the details in the form liner, Largo contacted Holliday to discuss the appropriate concrete mix design to ensure a perfect positive from the very detailed form liner. Although self-consolidating concrete is not frequently used in the Southern California market, it was determined that with the details, the importance of exact alignment of the columns and the limited space within the column form to allow for a vibrator, that this would be the appropriate mix design to yield the best finished product.

4000 psi @ 28 days Self Consolidating Concrete mix with a water to cement ratio of 0.44. The cementitious content was 8.5 sacks that was 70% Type II/V cement and 30% Type F Fly Ash. Nominal spread was 25” to 30” but it was usually in excess of 27”. It has a maximum aggregate size of 3/8”, but since the mix needed to reveal very fine details it was proportioned to contain 70% Washed Concrete Sand. All of the aggregates are from Holliday Rocks Upland California Facilities. The admixtures in the mix design included: a Type F High Range Water Reducing Superplastizing polycarboxylate, a workability-retaining admixture that provides flexible degrees of slump retention without retardation. And when needed (in this case it wasn’t but was always available) a viscosity-modifying admixture that is specially developed for producing concrete with enhanced viscosity and controlled rheological properties that increases resistance to segregation while facilitating placement and consolidation.

The hammerheads that span across the columns were formed out of rough sawn dimensional lumber of varying widths on top of the above-mentioned columns. Each of the twelve hammerheads were formed with no common joint plan of the rough sawn lumber. Steps were taken to raise the texture of the rough sawn lumber. Each board was soaked in water overnight and sealed with form release to accentuate the rough sawn look to the vision of the Imagineers. The hammerheads were also poured with the self-consolidating concrete mix design that was used in the columns.   Typically, these decorative types of concrete elements are a post installed façade covering a structural column, but with the load requirements of the train, envisioned size of the elements and the environmental concerns of the river, the above summarized use of concrete was developed and put to use.

Great Wolf Resort Accolades – Engineering News Record, American Concrete Institute & Tilt-Up Concrete Association

With four different types of concrete on this project: cast in place, slab on metal deck, tilt-up and shotcrete, the Great Wolf Resort Waterpark and Hotel in Garden Grove has won the following awards from the Engineering News Record and the American Concrete Institute. With two of the 40 tilt-up concrete panels weighing 12.5 tonnes and standing 84′ tall the Tilt-Up Association of America ranks these panels 9th in the Top 10 Tallest and Heaviest Panels in the United States. Click the links below to view the complete article and view rankings:

ENR Best Project Article: Specialty Contracting Category
ENR Best Projects Logo

ACI Pankow Award: Outstanding Performance in Design & Engineering

ACI Logo2
Tilt-Up Association of America Top 10 Tallest & Heaviest Panels

TCA Logo


Best Project Award ReceptionGreat Wolf Project Team at the ENR Awards Breakfast (from left): Ali Koofigar, Lynn Call, Joe Arciero, Chris Wills & Bryan Peugh

Pankow Award
Great Wolf Project Team at the ACI Pankow Awards Lunch (from left): Chris Wills, Joe Arciero, Lynn Call, Jade Earlabaugh (Holliday Rock – Readymix Supplier) Bryan Peugh, Ali Koofigar

Cast-in-Place, Slab on Metal Deck and 84′ Tall Tilt-Up Concrete at the Great Wolf Hotel and Waterpark

Largo Concrete recently began work on the 12-acre, outdoor themed, Great Wolf Hotel and Waterpark on Harbor Boulevard south of Disneyland. The 603-suite hotel is located at the back of the development behind the 3-acre indoor and outdoor waterpark, 30,000sf conference area and 18,000sf of retail and dining. Designed by architect Ware Malcomb and structural engineer Englekirk, highlights of the waterpark include the Howlin’ Tornado which drops riders 6-stories through a funnel and the Wolf Tail slide which takes riders in a 360 degree loop. The waterpark has designated zones for guests of different ages along with other child friendly entertainment such as miniature golf and bowling, an arcade, a resort-wide treasure hunt and story time each night in the lobby.

From a constructability perspective, perhaps the most unique feature on the project are the 84’ Tall Tilt-Up Concrete Panels at the waterpark. Panels of this height rank in the Top 10 tallest nationally according to the Tilt-up Concrete Association, and are believed to be the tallest free standing panels ever placed. Largo is scheduled to start erecting these panels this October. In addition to the waterpark, Largo is also constructing a 9-story cast in place hotel and a 3-story structural steel building with metal decks. Concrete-wise, there is a little of everything on this project.

During the lengthy pre-construction process Largo finalized design with all disciplines utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM). This powerful software is vital to the success of such a complex project as it provides the platform for the enhanced coordination, and collaboration, of all trades from schematic design through closeout. The General Contractor, Turner Construction Co., is working all areas of the development to meet the scheduled opening in the Spring of 2016. Largo Concrete estimates completion of our scope in March of 2015.

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