home-grown concrete

Glasshouse’s floors are grown in Manitoba’s prairie fields

About an hour west of Winnipeg, on a two lane highway that slices through immense fields of early spring mud, squeezed between a rail spur and a gravel rural road and on the edge of a tiny collection of homes that claim this spot on the prairies as Haywood, lies the family home of the Poiriers. In the time since their grandfather moved his family to this hamlet, the descendants have turned their former homestead into a complex that claims 22 acres of fields not producing canola, or wheat, but huge harvests of concrete materials.

The Poirers have a rugged production plant that is manufacturing all 160,000 square feet of precast “hollowcore” planks for Glasshouse. These are large sections of concrete floor produced on beds 480 feet long. Instead of reinforcing bars typically used when casting concrete in forms, large cables are placed in tension from one end of the production bed to the other. A machine travels the length of the bed, simultaneously dispensing concrete and forming the planks’ exterior shape and internal circular openings (flutes), all at a precise speed.

During the production process testing is also done to ensure that the strength of both the concrete and reinforcing steel are in accordance with the project specifications. The production plant has their own licensed professional engineer who specializes in precast concrete and reviews all the data.

The hollowcore is labelled, and held in allotted areas within the storage compound prior to shipping. The Poiriers work to have approximately eight floors available for delivery to the site at any time. Since mid-March that shipping has been underway, resulting in the floors that you see being installed right now.