International Minds: Ray Clark
The American mantras of productivity and growth have long since done their work on the market: designs are heavily standardized, and the use of precast parts with in-situ concrete is widespread. Ray Clark is the General Manager of the RECKLI subsidiary US Formliner, and expects strong growth of the market over the coming ten years.
What are the challenges of working with architectural concrete?
In North America, the main issue is achieving more widespread knowledge about the design possibilities using architectural concrete. We often get into conversations with architects who are surprised by the designs that can be implemented using formliners.
What characterizes a typical façade?
Overall, I would say that wood, masonry and steel continue to dominate the market. Concrete is securing a place as a resilient and reliable construction material. Over recent years, we have already seen more creative façade designs, and some of the most remarkable designs were created using architectural concrete, because the material is so flexible. Exciting developments are under way, thanks to the exciting things that become possible when concrete is used as a design material.
What types of structures are RECKLI formliners predominantly used for?
In the five years that US Formliner has been active on the market here, we have worked a lot with precast plants. The concrete elements are mostly installed in office and business buildings. Our formliners are also commonly used in the design of noise barriers and retaining walls. Among our standard patterns, the bestseller is Fraser. Because architects and planners are increasingly requesting something special for the project, we are producing more custom formliners all the time, or modifying one of our standard patterns for the individual purpose.
Do you have a favorite project?
In Reno, Nevada, we worked on a highway project right by the new Tesla factory. For that we produced custom formliners showing various scenes: people fishing, kite flying, and cycling. It was a very detailed project that took more than two months. We worked closely with RECKLI in Germany, and had the positive casts manufactured in the woodshop in Herne, before casting the formliners at our plant in Athens, Georgia.