Atlanta, GA – Stealth is a 33-foot tall sculpture in downtown Atlanta that is covered entirely with concrete. Tristan Al-Haddad, professor of architecture at Georgia Tech, designed the sculpture and Sinclair Construction built it. The experimental design would have scared any concrete producer with its jagged edges and unique curves, but Thomas Concrete in Atlanta was up to the challenge. After building a relationship with Tristan by giving tours of the plant to architecture students, Tristan came to Thomas Concrete with an interesting proposal. Tristan envisioned a jet-black sculpture that forces a different perspective from different angles. Thomas Concrete wanted to come up with the perfect concrete mixture to help Tristan’s artwork come to life.
Thomas concrete has an impressive technical lab for testing potential applications. The lab has extensive testing capabilities including a temperature control room from 0-110 degrees Fahrenheit, a color mixing area, a 60,000 psi compression machine, and a special mixer only found in Italy that mimics the final mixer in a dry batch plant. Thomas Concrete uses hard science to back up their mixes. The goal of Thomas Concrete was to find the right balance of aggregate blends, specialty products, and strength. After testing different combinations, the lab was confident with a mixture that would satisfy the requirements for the structure. It was especially important to have tested the mixture thoroughly, as panels covered the outside of the sculpture throughout the setting process. The last load was poured before the first one could be checked, but nevertheless Thomas Concrete was confident in its contribution.
Justin from Thomas Concrete mentioned that Sika products played an important role in Stealth’s success. Sika Viscocrete-2100, Sika Plastiment, and Sika Stabilizer-4R all helped the sculpture set correctly without compromising final strength. Thomas Concrete also used Sika products throughout foundation work on the stadiums for the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Falcons. Sikatard-440 helped concrete retain a long slump life during the setting of the massive foundation required for the Falcon’s stadium. It worked so well that Thomas Concrete began incorporating it into other applications.
The formwork for the Stealth sculpture was made using 3-D laser cutting. Once the formwork was complete, Sinclair Construction poured the concrete over a three month span at 3-yard pours. Georgia Tech students were also involved in the process, from creating formwork to polishing the finished sculpture. The resulting sculpture is an embodiment of modern technology according to Tristan Al-Haddad’s vision. The sculpture as already won 1st place in the ASCC Decorative Concrete Counsel and 1st place in ACI Georgia, while it is in contention for the ACI National Award.
As Justin from Thomas Concrete said, “There’s nothing you can’t do with concrete.”
Click here to see the construction of Stealth!