Gomes + Staub Architects / The University of Texas at Austin
From the Jury:
The open-wall strategy was interesting in that it allowed for the imprint of an individual designer who might specify it, so that it didn’t demand a certain kind of image of architecture or other additional components to it. That’s how the future of material systems should be — that we shouldn’t always have to be legislated by systems, but, rather, that the systems should allow for flexibility.
The MineralBuilt wall system adapts load-bearing reinforced masonry construction to the speed and budgets of typical low-rise commercial buildings. Rather than building with lesser construction types containing moisture-intolerant or fire-vulnerable materials to reduce costs or accelerate construction, load-bearing masonry can be adapted to contemporary needs. The wall is an “open” system, allowing a variety of insulation, air/water barriers, plumbing, and wiring types to be installed. This means that the assembly can be customized to the climate and building trades of a particular location. Like a double-wythe cavity wall, the MineralBuilt system provides a drained cavity and a continuous water and air barrier. As with stud construction, building system rough-ins and insulation can be scheduled, installed, and inspected independently of the wall construction, accelerating building construction and occupancy.
MineralBuilt wall blocks are produced by conventional block plans already existing in local markets around the United States, and can be produced on standard equipment at a rate 50 percent greater than conventional 8-inch hollow block, while using a third less cement and aggregate. To date, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued three patents on the technology.
As a practical, efficient, and site-friendly system of masonry construction, the MineralBuilt wall system provides the robust durability of building with minerals without sacrificing the speed, flexibility, and ease of modern construction methods.