To this end, ‘we were really clinical in our setout’, Sean says. ‘Every sheet of form ply was checked for square.’ Placement of coil ties, Z-bars and nails was carefully mapped out to follow the grid pattern.
Sean asked the engineer if they could put a higher slump in the concrete (i.e. a wetter mix) to make it more workable. They poured a 1200mm wide strip on each side, alternating sides and covering the concrete to protect it from damage and the weather, until they reached the top. ‘We didn’t want to just load up too heavy on one side and put stresses on the walls.’
A nail-biting 28 days followed as the concrete cured to 32MPA. ‘That was an anxious wait…we were thinking, did we vibrate it enough, is it going to be boney, what’s it going to look like? Which made it all the more rewarding when we stripped it, and it just looked perfect.’
The finished room is resplendent in its simplicity. With glazing to the entire northern elevation and the double-height raked ceiling soaring above, the visual weight of the concrete is perfectly counterbalanced by the lightness and sheer volume of the space. Decorative finishes were kept to a minimum, bringing the precision of Toki’s work – the crisply rendered joints and lucidity of the concrete – into sharp focus.
The home, which Toki dubbed ‘Concrete Extruded House’, took around seven months to complete. The clients absolutely loved the finished result, and it also went on to attract several high-profile industry accolades, including the 2019 HIA NSW Renovation/Addition Project award. Even more satisfyingly, the project’s overall success launched Toki Construction into a higher echelon of work.
‘It was a really cool experience,’ Sean says. ‘We had a great architect, great clients and a beautiful outcome. It’s got a special place for me because it was testing everything we knew at the time. It wasn’t a big budget build; it was all off the back of hard work and ensuring we got it right.’