We’ve got a lot of “waffles” in the library here at Wentworth, as part of the ever-present Brutalist/mid-century modern style of Beatty Hall. Just look up, you’ll likely see a waffle slab.
The grid-like pattern of the waffle slabs is a design element from the building’s original plans, perhaps for sound-proofing, or simply as an economical way to construct the building’s ceilings.
Perkins + Will is highlighting the waffle slab in the best possible way – visible high atop the open ceiling in the main part of the library, but surrounded by a perforated metal scrim to create a clean visual line while hiding pipes and such. The perforated metal will likely have a subtle, much smaller waffle-esque pattern, echoing the building’s original components. With new LED lighting to draw the eye just so, the metal scrim will appear to be a floating translucent edge atop the library space.
Concrete waffle slabs are part of the history of concrete usage in building construction, as well as in the mid-century modern/Brutalist architectural designs common when Beatty Hall was built in the mid-1960’s.
We’ve put together a list of some of the many library resources available on the topics of concrete construction, design, and Brutalist architecture to get you inspired like we are here in the library!
- Benjamin, B. S. “Shuttering.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, accessed January 26, 2016, from Grove Art Online.
- Engelsmann, Stephan, Stefan Peters, Valerie Spalding, et al. 2014. Designing structures withstructural concrete. In Modern Concrete Construction Manual, 70-105. Berlin, Boston: DEGRUYTER. Retrieved 26 Jan. 2016, from De Gruyter.
- Forty, Adrian. Concrete and Culture : A Material History. London, GBR: Reaktion Books, 2012. Accessed January 26, 2016. ProQuest ebrary.
- Pasnik, Mark. Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston 1960-1976. New York, NY: Monacelli Press, 2015. WENTWORTH FACULTY!!
- Roth, Manuela. Concrete : architecture & design. Salenstein, Switzerland: Braun, 2012.
- Hall, William. Concrete. London: Phaidon, 2012.