Retaining walls are functional. Everyone knows that. But what if they had to be beautiful and natural; to look like they were part of the existing environment while still ensuring the necessary structural integrity?

That was the challenge Torrent faced when they were contacted by a private client in the resort town of Whistler, BC. The municipal and community planning department of Whistler and the surrounding neighbours wanted the large retaining wall required for the construction of this private home to fit in with the natural environment. The last thing anyone wanted was a giant concrete block structure that would have been jarringly out of place in one of Canada’s most famous and beautiful ski resort destinations.

Torrent worked with the structural and landscape architects as well as geotechnical engineers to work on a design for a concrete wall that wouldn’t look anything like a concrete wall. Instead, it had to look like a natural stone wall blending in seamlessly with the environmental setting. The concrete used to construct the wall would need to be sculpted, shaped and coloured to achieve the desired result and the only way to achieve this was with shotcrete.

Shotcrete is the very best application method to use when unique structural concrete solutions are called for.  It’s fast, structurally sound and allows architects and engineers to approach complicated design challenges without the constraints of form and pour concrete. The visual options resulting from the shaping and sculpting possibilities of shotcrete are endless and as a result, concrete is taking on shapes and forms that were never considered before.

Through multiple design meetings and coordination, a final comprehensive plan was developed and the work proceeded in the summer of 2016. Once phase one was completed, phase two started on the upper driveway area. This work is now 80% complete to date and will be finished once the snow clears in the spring.

During the final stage of construction, after sculpting is completed, natural colour staining will be applied to incorporate the natural colours of the surrounding geology; the finishing touch on this impressive example of structural concrete artwork!

The end result will be a fully functional residential retaining wall that blends in perfectly with the natural mountainous terrain of Whistler. Man-made, naturally.

Whether it’s downtown, underground or on the side of a mountain, Torrent keeps it simple:

More wall. Every day.