Fu-Tung Cheng Plays with Concrete Walls

This house, built in San Mateo County, Calif., by Cheng Design, has the fingerprints of acclaimed precast-piece designer Fu-Tung Cheng all over it.
Photo by Matthew Millman

This house, built in San Mateo County, Calif., by Cheng Design, has the fingerprints of acclaimed precast-piece designer Fu-Tung Cheng all over it.

Pencil sketch of Cheng Design House 6 Image copyright Cheng Design
Image copyright Cheng Design

A press release from Cheng Design, Berkeley, Calif., calls this house “House 6.” Here’s what else it says: “House 6 was an opportunity to apply Fu-Tung Cheng’s small scale, hands-on work with concrete as a finish material to the larger scale of a house. The concept was to (let us) create a building that, while minimalist, would convey integral tactile design and craft throughout by ‘playing’ with and controlling the mix design of the concrete walls as they were being poured.

The front entrance.
The front entrance.

“The concrete walls were poured using a formwork-reducing slip-cast technique. Panels measuring 4 feet by 8 feet, each comprised of plastic laminate and plywood, were ganged together in single-height 4-foot ‘lifts.’ With each lift came the ability to control how the concrete was performing by reaching into the forms to add subtle bands of color and to prevent any marring of the glossy smooth forms.

The finished house, from the front walk
The finished house, from the front walk

“This cannot be accomplished if the walls are created in a single pour from the top of 20-foot-high forms. With these tall forms, the wet mix splatters against the narrow form walls as it fills the form, producing the uniform color of a typical cast concrete wall.”

www.chengdesign.com

Cheng Design concrete home under construction. House 6
Photo by Fu-Tung Cheng

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