Breaking The Record For The Largest Concrete Pour In The World

Breaking the Record for the Largest Concrete Pour in the World

New skyscrapers will do anything for attention — which is why an under-construction supertall in Los Angeles, soon to be the tallest building on the West Coast, is trying to break another record too. Starting Saturday, construction crews will pump 16,000 cubic metres of concrete onto the Wilshire Grand site, which might make it the largest continuous foundation pour in the world.

The current US record, according to McGraw-Hill's Engineering News Record, was set over a 24-hour period back in 1997 by the Venetian in Las Vegas, with a 16,000 cubic metre foundation. Some sites claim that Abu Dhabi's Landmark Tower, with 16,000 cubic metres poured in 2007, is also the world's largest continuous pour. However, Guinness World Records — which doesn't, in fact, list any kind of concrete foundation pouring records on its site — will reportedly be there to verify that the Wilshire Grand beats the Venetian in total volume and that their flow remains continuous.

Thanks to Los Angeles' plentiful concrete plants and available trucks, breaking the record should be no sweat. This is how the pour will work, according to KPCC:

  • 8 plants around Los Angeles will provide concrete throughout the day.
  • 180 concrete trucks will make multiple deliveries to the site.
  • At any given moment, 16 trucks will be unloading their concrete into the foundation simultaneously.
  • 2,100 truckloads of concrete will be poured into the foundation.
  • The foundation will hold 21,200 cubic yards of concrete weighing 82 million pounds when dry.
  • As it dries, concrete undergoes an exothermic reaction, meaning it heats up. It can reach temperatures above 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The crews will run 19 miles of refrigeration piping through the foundation to keep it cool so it won't crack.

To monitor the temperature, 24 sensors will be embedded throughout the foundation, making sure that everything cools correctly. The architects, A.C. Martin, also say that the one-time pour will actually improve structural integrity.

Breaking the Record for the Largest Concrete Pour in the World

The 73-storey building, designed with the architectural equivalent of a mohawk, is set to dramatically alter LA's skyline, which has been dominated by the flat-topped US Bank Tower since 1990. When it's completed in two years, the Wilshire Grand will be 335m tall (including spire), making it the tallest building in the US west of Chicago. [KPCC]

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