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Awards | TCA Tilt-Up Achievement

Sibaya Casino

2006 TCA Tilt-Up Achievement Award - Special Projects Division

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From the unique architecture and idyllic setting, to the awe-inspiring Afro-chic atmosphere and the fantasy world of a state-of-the-art casino, there’s much to experience in this 2006 TCA award winning project. Featuring over 900 slot machines and thirty-seven table games, the property is also an elegant resort with eight restaurants and two hotels with 156 rooms.

Low maintenance, cost-effectiveness and quality made Tilt-Up the solution for this facility.

The Sibaya Casino is designed around the local Zulu culture. Its massive central domed structure is encircled by eight satellite structures with their own identities. The unique façade features create unusual curved structures with hardly any straight lines. When the owner wanted to incorporate curved walls even though they had never been done by the contractor, a full-size sample was constructed to demonstrate the success of this technique.

Constantly changing levels around the site created a tight space, which necessitated the creation of bulk earthwork platforms to create space for casting beds and provide crane access.

In order to create the curved front face of the panels, sacrificial casting beds were created around the outside of the building. This process involved casting two level strips of concrete that had steel bolted onto it to create tracks. A steel strike rail that was shaped to the radius of the required panel “ran” on these rails. The earth between the tracks was then shaped and the bed cast and floated using the strike rail to ensure a constant radius along the height of the panel.

The panels were not just a constant thickness but also had integral columns and beams cast into them to create the depth required by the architect. Panels were cast in a two-phase operation, and certain panels had battered faces requiring the integral columns to taper so that once the back face of the column was plumb, the front face of the panel would slope backwards. Large polystyrene void forms were placed into the panel before encasing them in concrete to reduce the panel weight.

To simulate local ethnic building techniques, a dry, granolithic screed mix was added to the concrete surface and hand floated into the concrete to create a textured finish. Deep recesses were formed cost-effectively by creating a composite recess former of polystyrene with a ply board that could be glued to the casting surface and would not be damaged during fixing of reinforcing and concreting of the panels. Beige paint was used to complement the existing landscape.

Judges rated the Sibaya Casino as a favorite because this project serves as “a genuine iconic milestone for the site-cast concrete wall panel industry. The shear magnitude and complexity of the scope should be inspiring to anyone involved with or contemplating using this construction method…Projects like this start to legitimize Tilt-Up within the design excellence elitist, which will slowly erode the big box stigma we currently face with so many non-believers.”

Project Specifics

Project Floor Area
485,000 sq ft
(45,057 sq m)
Tallest Panel
47 ft 0 in
(14.33 m)
Largest Panel
627 sq ft
(58.2 sq m)
Heaviest Panel
107,500 lbs
(48,761 kg)

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About the TCA

Founded in 1986, the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) strives to improve the quality and acceptance of site-cast Tilt-Up construction, a method in which concrete wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Tilt-Up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, combining the advantages of reasonable cost with low maintenance, durability, speed of construction and minimal capital investment. At least 10,000 buildings, enclosing more than 650 million square feet, are constructed each year using this construction method.

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