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Publication numberUS3678638 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 25, 1972
Filing dateDec 24, 1970
Priority dateDec 24, 1970
Publication numberUS 3678638 A, US 3678638A, US-A-3678638, US3678638 A, US3678638A
InventorsMougin George
Original AssigneeSodeteg Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Building construction of modular units with settable material therebetween
US 3678638 A
Modular units, forming room units are built up of panel structures having an L or U-shaped channel extending around the panel structure and forming the frame, with at least one panel secured to the side legs of the channel. The channel reinforces the panels and forms a mold of sufficient strength to hold poured concrete therein. Such modular units are placed adjacent each other, preferably with a polystyrene separating sheet therebetween, and concrete is poured in the open faced channels to form vertical columns and horizontally extending beams. After hardening, additional units can be placed on top of the thus formed column and beam structure, the weight of the upper modular units, or of the top structure being carried by the columns and beams and not by the walls of the modular units. Preferably, reinforcing rods which may be welded to the channels are incorporated in the columns and beams.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


3,495,371 2/1970 Mitchell 52/236 3,514,910 6/1970 Comm .....52/79 3,512,315 5/1970 Vitalim 52/79 3,331,170 7/1967 Lowe et al. ..52/79 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,269,080 7/1961 France ..52/79 Netherlands ..52/ 79 Australia Primary Examiner-Frank L. Abbott Assistant Examiner-Leslie A. Braun Attorney-Flynn & Frishauf [5 7] ABSTRACT Modular units, forming room units are built up of panel structures having an L or U-shaped channel extending around the panel structure and forming the frame, with at least one panel secured to the side legs of the channel. The channel reinforces the panels and forms a mold of sufiicient strength to hold poured concrete therein. Such modular units are placed adjacent each other, preferably with a polystyrene separating sheet therebetween, and concrete is poured in the open faced channels to form vertical columns and horizontally extending beams. After hardening, additional units can be placed on top of the thus formed column and beam structure, the weight of the upper modular units, or of the top structure being carried by the columns and beams and not by the walls of the modular units. Preferably, reinforcing rods which may be welded to the channels are incorporated in the columns and beams.

32 Claims, 16 Drawing Figures Patented July 25, 1972 6 Sheets-Sheet l Patented July 25, 1972 6 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG.5

Patented July 25, 1972 6 Sheets-Sheet 5 Patented July 25, 1972 6 Sheets-Sheet 4 FIG8 Patented July 25, 1972 3,678,638

6 Sheets-Sheet 5 Mum! me w BUILDING CONSTRUCTION OF MODULAR UNITS WITH SETTABLE MATERIAL TIIEREBETWEEN The present invention relates to a building construction and a method therefor, and more particularly to a building construction in which a plurality of modular units including special panel structures are assembled together. The structure is particularly useful when assembling buildings in which similar modular units are placed next to and on top of each other, with the sizes of the modular units being essentially similar. Such structures are frequently used in ofiice buildings, hotel structures, and urban developments.

Modular building construction has previously been proposed; reference may be had, for example, to U.S. Pat. No. 3,514,910, Comm, in which modular construction is shown, including room layout for apartment house use. The difficulty with modular construction, particularly for larger rooms, is that the weight of the individual room units becomes very great when the walls of the room units are made of cast concrete. In the construction of the subject matter of the aforementioned U.S. Pat. No. 3,514,910, modules forming room units, themselves made of pre-cast, reinforced concrete are stacked above each other, and the space between modules is partly filled to form vertical support columns, and to interconnect the modules. This requires substantial wall thickness and strength of the wall units of the modules themselves, and thus results in heavy room units requiring expensive and special erection apparatus.

In accordance with another type of prefabricated construction, a framework is first built, for example of reinforced concrete, leaving spaces into which modular units are slid afterwards. This type of construction requires special and quite expensive auxiliary erection apparatus since the alignment of the modular units with the precast concrete form must be quite accurate. The weights of the modular units themselves practically preclude hand-alignment at the last, final assembly stage. Other types of modular construction arrangements, and erection, for example using plug in units have been described in the architectural literature.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a building construction, and a method of erection, as well as modular units and wall panels to be used in such buildings which efficiently use the required site area, which use modules of comparatively light weight, and which no not require special erection apparatus.


Briefly, modular units are constructed of joined-together panel structures, the side walls and ceilings of which utilize channels to define the panel structures, with face panels secured to the channels; the channels are so arranged that the open side of the channel faces outwardly. When two such modules are placed next to each other and concrete is poured in the space defined by the channels, now facing upwardly, of the side walls and further between the space of the longitu dinally extending channels of the side walls, a grid structure will result of upright columns and horizontally extending beams. The wall panel structures are sufficiently strong to support the weight of the wet, uncured concrete, but notstrong enough, and therefore not heavy enough, to support the weight of a superposed modular unit. Upon hardening of the concrete beam and the columns, however, the concrete beam together with the columns is capable of supporting a next modular unit placed thereover. In eflect, therefore, the present invention provides a modular unit construction, a method of building erection, and a panel which is so constructed and built that the panels, or their edges, respectively, themselves form not only the structure which defines the panels but also the mold for a concrete framework of sufiicient strength to support a multi-level building structure.

The present invention thus provides a modular construction in which a reinforced concrete framework is provided, cast in accordance with known construction principles, but in which the concrete mold forms are not removed after hardening of the concrete; rather, the wall units themwelves, that is the channels at the edge limits of the wall panels themselves form the molds for the concrete to be poured, the set concrete then providing the load bearing structure.

In accordance with a feature of the invention, the channels are all made of steel, welded together directly, or by means of intermediate connecting elements, connecting angles, or the like, and are further provided with reinforcing rods secured to the channels themselves. These reinforcing rods, by suitable spacing from the channels, and by attaching them by means of welded stubs or brackets, can form not only attachment rails for hoisting the modules in place, for handling and shipping, but also, by extending slightly beyond the channel structures angled therefrom, to prevent collision of objects with the channels and the modules, during shipping and handling. Just prior to pouring of the concrete, adjacent reinforcing rods can be interconnected as well known in the construction field, to provide an inteconnected, reinforced. concrete system when the concrete has set.

In accordance with another feature of the invention, the modular units are separated from each other by a sheet of inert material, for example expanded polystyrene, to provide both for heat and sound insulation. Not all the channels need be covered on one,or both sides with wall panels; some may be left blank, so that only frames of the outline of a wall are provided, to leave space for the running of utility lines such as water, waste, electric cables, telephone lines and the like. The walls themselves can then be spaced from the channels and secured by conventional means, such as by edge strips and the like. These separate walls can readily be made to be remova ble to provide access to the utilities for service, maintenance and repair. This type of construction. is particularly suitable for hotels, motel units, or the like, and especially where heavy industrial installation and erection equipment, skilled labor, and local supply of construction material are difficult to obtain.

The channels may be made of steel; if so, they are preferably of U, C or L shape. The legs of the U," if the channels are U-shaped, need not be of the same length. When extreme light-weight construction is required, for example, when the erection equipment available is not capable of hoisting heavy loads, the modular units may be assembled of combinations of aluminum extrusions replacing conventional studs, and the channel structure made of webs, for example, of wood, reinforced plastic or the like, and extending the widths of the aluminum extrusions, that is, the thickness of the wall. The wall itself may remain hollow or be filled with light weight plastic cellular material to provide for sound insulation. A single panel only is needed. In a vertical wall, the channel can then be formed directly by the innerwall, or, if needed, by an additional reinforcement such as a sheet of about 1 cm thick plywood, secured, if desired, to reinforcing braces or structures adapted to be imbedded in the concrete which will fill the channel when the modules are assembled. The wall panels themselves to face the room may be of asbestos cement, or gypsum board, about 1.25 cm thick. The floor joists, can be aluminum extrusions. The ceiling, which bears no weight on its own, can be likewise constructed of gypsum board secured to aluminum extrusions.

The invention will be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a modular motel unit from the front;

FIG. 2 is a perspective rear view of a pair of units placed next to each other, and before assembly;

FIG. 3 is a schematic front view of basic units placed next to, and above each other;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary cross sectional view, to a greatly enlarged scale, along lines IV IV of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary enlarged cross-sectional view of the junction of four room units within the circle V of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a schematic illustration of the structural framework which results from the casting of concrete, with the room unit modules omitted from the drawing;

FIG. 6a is a vertical cross-sectional view of the angle at line VI of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a transverse cross-sectional view of a pair of joined modular units illustrating, in an enlarged scale, the junction formation, along line VIIVII of FIG. 3;

FIG. 8 is a vertical cross-sectional view, similar to FIG. 4, illustrating a modified arrangement of formation of the corner, and, partly, attachment of one room unit to an adjacent one;

FIG. 9 illustrates, in vertical cross-section, a stepped junction, along line IX of FIG. 1 and FIG. 2;

FIG. 10 is a front, schematic view of a frame to which panels can be attached, or to act as a spacer and beam forming element;

FIG. 11 is a schematic top view' of wall and beam arrangement for a pair of adjacent units;

FIG. 12 is an elevational view illustrating reinforcement arrangements within the panel structures.

FIG. 13 is a longitudinal sectional view through a modular room construction in which L channels are used, made of wood.

FIG. 14 is a detailed view of the beam construction to an enlarged scale; and

FIG. 15 is a fragmentary sectional view, taken on a horizontal plane along lines 15-15 of FIG. 14 and illustrating a vertically extending column formed intermediate along wall and a pair of panel structures for two adjacent wall units each.

The building structure is assembled of a group of modular units, as seen separately in FIG. 1, and adjacent each other in FIG. 2, in slightly exploded form. FIG. 2 shows modular units particularly adapted for motel construction. The front view, that is the streetside view of a motel construction as seen in FIG. 2 is illustrated in FIG. 3.

A modular unit as, for example, M11 (FIGS. 1, 3) is placed on a support base such as a poured concrete foundation, a stilt or column construction or the like, with access to the bottom of the unit for connection of utility lines, such as water, sewage, electricity, telephone and the like. These units, like unit M11, can be prefabricated and assembled of panel structures, to be explained in detail hereafter. A second modular unit, M12 is placed adjacent unit M11, with a separating panel, for example of expanded polystyrene, or the like, therebetween, to allow for thermal expansion and to improve sound insulation between the units. Only afterunits of one floor are assembled together and the supporting structure has been cast, are units of a second floor, such as modular units M21, M22 placed thereover. As can be seen, immediately, no space is allowed for a support structure of the second floor units M21, M22; yet, the strength of the wall panels forming the units M11, M12 is not such as to be able to support the weight of the superimposed units. Rather, the wall structures of the units themselves form molds to pour a support grid of concrete columns and beams on which the second, and succeeding floors are to be supported.

An individual panel is seen in cross section in FIG. 4. It comprises a U-shaped channel structure 10, formed of U- shaped steel channels 11 having the sides l2, 13 facing outwardly, that is away from the major extent of the panel structure itself. The base 14 extends downwardly. Each panel is defined by a pair of side walls 22, 23 which are secured to the sides 12, 13 of the U channel for example by an adhesive such as epoxy, or the like. The spacing between panels 22, 23, corresponding to the width of the base may be, for example, approximately 7 cm. This space is filled with a heat and sound insulating material 25, such as polyurethane foam, a honeycomb material, or polystyrene in expanded, or in foam form, or similar sound and heat insulating substance. Preferably, the substance should be also hydrophobic and essentially unaffected by changes in temperature or other conditions, and be capable of slight expansion or compression; the various form, or expanded plastic substances meet this requirement quite well. The sidewalls 22, 23 of the panels may be of asbestos cement. The wall which will face inwardly of the modular unit, in FIGS. 4 and 5 walls 23, may be of different material, and have a decorative facing on the inside, such as hardboard wall panels, plywood panels with plastic finishes and the like.

Panel structures of this kind are preferably rectangular. FIG. 10 shows an open, empty channel structure in which the comers of the channels 1 l are welded together. One panel can be adhered to one side of the structure, the space forming the width of the panel filled with insulating material, and the second panel secured thereover. This completes a panel structure in accordance with the invention. It is to be noted that the concave side of the U throughout faces outwardly.

A rather similar panel structure can be used for the ceiling; the U-shaped channels of the ceiling panel and the wall panel are then interconnected. FIG. 4 shows one way of such interconnection, in the form of an angle member 26 which is welded to the side 13 of the U channel 11 of the sidewall. It extends beneath the side 16 of the steel frame for the ceiling panel. In FIG. 4, the ceiling insulation has been omitted for clarity. The steel frame for the ceiling panel may, in essence, be a L" shaped member 15, which, for purposes of the present specification, can be deemed a type of U -shaped member in which one side hade been severely forshortened, or even completely omitted. Making the sides of the U-shaped member uneven may, in certain constructions, facilitate pouring of concrete. The inside of the ceiling in the modular unit, panel 27 may, again, be of asbestos cement. To provide a neat finish for the corner, hiding angle 26 and the weld between side 13 of the wall channel and side 16 of the ceiling channel, a cove 28 is installed as a finish. The space behind the cove may be utilized as a trough, to run, for example, electrical or other cables. In other constructions it may be desired to make the side 13 of the U already of sufiicient length to provide the angle member 26; it may be shaped to form the angle, or nearly an upstanding extended side 13 may be provided, fitting against a substantially elongated side 16 of the ceiling member, to be welded or otherwise secured together when the modular unit is assembled.

Four side panels and a ceiling panel thus form a basic shelter structure. The construction of the floor panel will be explained subsequently. Let it be assumed that four such sidewall panels, with their U-shaped channels facing outwardly, and a ceiling panel are secured together into a rectangular box-like basic room unit. The assembly of two such room units, next to each other, is best explained in connection with FIGS. 5 and 6.

Two room units are placed next to each other on a base. They are separated from each other by a panel of polystyrene foam, or the like, about 2-3 cm thick, to provide a resilient spacer, and heat and sound insulation. Additionally, should the adhesion of one of the wall panels to the U-shaped channels not be perfect in spots, the interposed polystyrene filler panel 29 provides a mechanical back-up which is resilient, to prevent any rattles or noises if there should be a slight shift of weights, or vibration. FIG. 5 illustrates, at the lefthand side, a ceiling panel structure having U-shaped channels welded to a separate angle member 26, and at the right hand side, an L- shaped ceiling channel 17, and a U-shaped channel 11' forming the sidewall, having one elongated side 13' and forming, essentially, a J channel. The elongated sides 13' and 16 of channels 11' and 17 are welded together at their junction. After two modular room units are placed next to each other, with the polystyrene panel 29 therebetween, concrete can be poured in the space whereby the U channels 11, 11' and the ceiling channels 11, 17, and the extending angle members 26 or the leg 13', respectively, resulting in a horizontally located T beam 50 (see FIG. 6). The steel members of the channels, and extensions or angle members are strong enough to support the weight of the concrete when it is wet, although the sidewalls them selves would not, by themselves, be strong enough to do so. The weight of superposed room unit structures such as M21, 22 (FIG. 3) will then be carried by the T- beam 50 after the concrete has set, and not by the wall structure them selves. This permits manufacture of wall structures which are light in weight, since their strength need be no greater than that necessary to support the concrete as it is being poured. The walls, further, need not be strong enough to allow for a margin of safety, ambient stresses such as wind loading, earthquake resistance and the like, since the pouring of the concrete can be timed with favorable weather conditions; the strength of thepoured concrete structure will be capable of withstanding such additional stresses, and also provide the margin of safety required by building codes. No space is taken for separate forms to pour the concrete; and no space need be provided to align or place the modular units between already formed concrete structures.

The ceiling panel can be essentially similar to the wall panel. The floor panels are, preferably, somewhat different. After the concrete forming the T beam 50 has set and is of load bearing strength, an elastomer strip 51 is placed thereover an the next subsequent unit can be placed thereon. The floor panel preferably comprises a honeycomb structure 35, supporting a floor surface 37, such as vinyl tiles, wood flooring or the like. The floor structure itself can be additionally supported by joists fit within the U-shaped channels 31 which, for the floor, are preferably arranged in conventional manner, that is facing inwardly; the joists can then fit between the legs of the U at suitable intervals. The steel channel 31 of the floor and the U channel 11 of the associated wall unit can be interconnected by hanging brackets 36, welded to the U-shaped channels. The floor channels 31 may, additionally, have an insert bracket 32 to separately support the floor surface. Each modular unit thus can be pre-assembled by first pre-assembling the channel structures, welding the channel structures together and adhering or otherwise applying a surface, placing insulation or support structure therein and then applying the second surface. Of course, the sequence of steps can be arranged as desired.

The T-beams 50 are vertically supported by vertical columns 52. The vertical columns 52 are formed when concrete is poured at the junction of adjacent room units, or channel members of panel units which, due to the size of construction, happen to fall intermediate the length of the wall of a modular unit. These wall panels, at their sides, can be likewise interconnected by gusset plates, or other connection plates or strips, welded to the channel members. Thus, the sizes and the outline arrangement of the modular units is highly versitile. FIG. 7 illustrates formation of a vertical column, arising at the end, that is the outside wall of the building. Two adjacent room units M11, M12, are placed next to each other with the polystyrene panel 29 therebetween. The outside face of the building construction has wall units which are wider, that is thicker, than those facing an adjacent unit. The inside wall 13 may, again, be of the same construction as that used for wall 13; the outside is, however, preferably thicker, more highly resistant to weathering and mechanical damage. Before pouring of the concrete, the outside gap between a pair of units M11, M12 is closed off by a form 40, which, in FIG. 4, extends forwardly to form a vertical projecting pillar, for decorative purposes, or to support cross joists for a terrace. This form may, also be in the form of a fiat panel or any other closing element. If four modular units, or four channels fall adjacent each other, and no gap is left, then, of course, the separate form member is not necessary. For interal pouring, a panel of asbestos cement, possibly reinforced if necessary, is suitable. After the form is in place, cement is poured lengthwise of the gap between the channels 11 and the form 40, while, simultaneously, the top of the channels 11 forming the horizontal portion of the U-frame is also poured, thus forming, in one step, the T-beams 50 and the vertical columns 52.

The T beams and the columns are preferably of reinforced concrete. Reinforcing rods can be inserted, before this concrete in poured, in known manner. In a particularly desirable construction, reinforcing rods are pre-installed on the modular units already, the rods being secured to the modular units by bracket members of sufficient strength so that the modular units can be lifted and placed thereby; these rods are located at a position where they, additionally, protect the edges of the U-shaped channels, before assembly, for example during installation or shipment. FIG. 7 illustrates a pair of reinforcing rods 53; the left hand modular unit M11 has the reinforcing rod 53 attached to both the front wall, as well as to the side wall channels 11 by brackets 54, 54' welded to the channels 11 at suitable, preferably staggered intervals. The right hand unit, unit M12 has the rod 53 secured at suitable intervals by means of attachment rods 55, welded to the corner junction between the U-shaped channels of the longitudinal and the front wall of the modular unit M12. Before pouring of the cement, the reinforcing rods 53, 53 of adjacent channels are interconnected, for example by clips 56, clamps, reinforcing tie wire, or by other suitable means. Providing the rods welded to the channels facilitates placement, because it provides a ready handle and attachment point for sligs or loading hooks, and for handling of the units as they are being placed, and for securing them in position during the pouring of the concrete, to prevent any lateral movement due to possible pressure of the still wet concrete, particularly if vibration is used for compacting.

A ceiling comer for a front wall is illustrated in FIG. 6a in schematic form. Reinforcing rod 53 is secured to the ceiling U channel 11 by means of bar 54. The inside of the room, for example unit M11, is at the right of FIG. 6a; the outside is covered by a weather resistant panel strip 23'. A stiffening rib 58, interconnected at suitable intervals by vertically extending braces 59, to which the strip 23 can be secured, is preferably provided. The spacer strip 60 is secured to the front transverse channel 11, to which the frame of a sliding door, window, or the like, illustrated schematically at 61,can be attached. The inside panel for this wall would then have a suitable cutout, or be formed in strips, such as strip 22'. Suitable corner moldings, both at the ceiling, as well as at the floor or around the windows can be used, and have been omitted for simplicity.

To provide additional stifiness between the ceiling and the sidewall units, gussets or brackets may be placed in the corner between the sidewalls and the ceiling from time to time. One such type of gusset is shown at 65 in FIG. 5 and provides nearly a triangular steel strip, welded to the U-shaped channels at suitable intervals. Preferably the gusset is formed with a hole to carry telephone or electric wires therethrough, hidden, after installation by cove 28 (omitted in FIG. 5). A different type of ceiling-side wall interconnection, and also showing interconnection of adjacent room units is illustrated in FIG. 8, where sidewall U-channels 11 are welded to an upstanding plate 66 on one side and to a plate 67 at the other. These sidewalls are suitably interconnected by braces 68. To provide additional stiffness the plates may be formed with ribs. As shown in FIG. 8, plate 66 is bent over at its end and secured, typically by wedling, to reinforcing rod 53. Thus, a strong extension structure is provided which has suflicient hollow spaces to enable the pouring of concrete therein and yet furnishes a structure to which hooks or slings can be attached and which protects the panel structures of the modular unit. The plates 66, 67 are preferably slotted to pennit insertion of clips or tie wires 56 to interconnect adjacent units. Additional stiffening can be obtained by welding, at suitable intervals, ceiling strips to plate 66 or 67, or both, and providing an additional reinforcing rod parallel to the ceiling channel. Typical dimensions would be: Width of the base of the U-shaped channel for the side wall: about 7.5 cm; width of the U-shaped channel for the ceiling: about 15 cm; width of polystyrene panel 29: about 2-3 cm; longitudinal extent of T-beam 50 (equal to the distance from the bottom of the side wall U-shaped channel 1 1 to the top of the ceiling) about 45 cm; total width of cross piece of the T-beam 50 (distance between the inside concave surface of the ceiling U channels) about 35 cm. Material for wall 22: asbestos cement; material for wall 23: plastic laminate on plywood; material for ceiling 27: gypsum board; closing material for ceiling panel 27: about 1 cm thickness plywood. Instead of the reinforcing plate 67, with slots, suitably spaced reinforcing bars can be used welded to the channel 11, and to plate 66; these bars may extend vertically or zig-zag in manner to form, together with the bent-over side of plate 66 and the channel 11, a truss-type construction. If desired, and particularly to facilitate installation of flooring or other ceiling material, a wood joist 63 can be located next to the base of the U channel of the ceiling, and secured thereto at suitable intervals, for example by bolts, not shown.

In places where a bathroom unit is to be located, it is desirable that the ceiling is dropped so that sufficient space is available to install plumbing fixtures, slant for drain lines and the like for the next succeeding higher units. Additionally, the wall of the bathroom unit may be brought out from the U- shaped frame, for example to form a backing for a bathtub and the like, and also to provide a free space for the installation of utility lines such as drain lines, water supply, electric cables, telephone lines, television and other communication distribution lines and the like. These spaces should be accessible and the wall panels closing them ofi should be removable.

FIG. 9 illustrates a corner ceiling construction in which the left hand side is a full height room unit, the right hand side having a dropped ceiling.

The ceiling channel 71 has a top covering and a ceiling panel, for example of gypsum board applied thereto, as before. A ceiling bracket strip 64 holds a reinforcing rod 53A in place and is additionally welded to a support structure formed of bracket, plates, or rods 72, 73 which in turn are connected to reinforcing rods 53b, for example by welding. A second bracket structure formed of plates and brackets 74, 75 is secured to the group of brackets 72, 73, for example by welding and further connects with reinforcing rod 53C. A wooden joist 76 can be secured to one of the horizontally extending channels and, where necessary and as desired, to bracket 74. The bracket 74 may be L or T steel sections or the like, and may be preformed as a metallic frame. The ceiling for the bathroom area, to the right of FIG. 9, can thus be attached dropped; the beam to be cast will have the form of an inverted L similar to beam 57 (FIG. 6). If desired, the short strip of paneling 77 which defines the casting or pouring area for concrete and to form the L beam can terminate even with the normal ceiling height at the top, and a second, normal ceiling frame, without any ceiling panels therein, however, can be inserted to provide a pouring form to form a T beam similar to beam 50 (FIG. 6). Such a frame structure could well be made out of L sections. FIG. 10 illustrates such an open frame 10 made of U-shaped channel members. Such a frame, as shown in FIG. 10, may desirably be used when the wall is of such length that strength requirements demand additional pillers, between the walls. Such an installation is illustrated in FIG. 11, showing a fragmentary, schematic transverse cross-sectional view of a portion of a motel unit. A bathroom area B has a curtain wall, preferably removable, 80, brought out from an open U frame 81, similar to frame 10 of FIG. 10. Curtain wall 80 is secured to the walls defining the bathroom in suitable manner and is well known in the construction art, for example by molding strips, clips, or may be constructed as a regular frame wall. The space S between the longitudinal outline of frame 81 and the location of the curtain wall is available for the running of utility lines, drainpipe D, electric cables E, water lines W, and telephone, television and other communication cables F. Heating and air conditioning ducts, and other utilities can also be run in space S. Towards the corridor area C, the space S is closed off by means of a removable panel 82. The casting space for the vertical column adjacent the corridor itself is closed ofiby a panel of cementitious material, preferably with a slight inturned lip to fit closely around the U- shaped channels of frame 81. The closing panel 83 is nonremovable.

The frame 81, on its second vertical leg matches the facing of a frame 85 of a standard panel, of the type previously described. To form an inner wall for part way of the horizontal length of frame 81, a wooden stud 84 is set in at the junction of space S. Instead of a wooden stud, any other construction material holding the wall on the inside of the room unit in place can be used. This can be metal, an aluminum strip of the like, of sufficient strength to maintain in position the inner wall panel 86 and to hold such insulation material as is between the walls, in place. The U-shaped channels 81, need not be placed exactly adjacent each other, and any gaps between the inner wall panels can be filled by means of finishing strips 87.

The frames may, for example, have a horizontal extent in the order of from 3 to 4 meters, and a floor to ceiling height between 2 A and 3 meters. To prevent the wall panels from buckling, and to permit the use of standard wall panels, which have a smaller dimension, a framing grid can be constructed inside the U-shaped channels. FIG. 12 illustrates such a framing grid, useful for a wall in the unit of FIG. 11. The concrete vertical column between channels 81, 85 is indicated at 90, which will be poured during the pouring of the concrete and additionally support the T-beam 50. Additional stifiening member, made out of wood, steel or other metal U-shaped or L-shaped structural elements, such as the truss-shaped connecting members 91, 92, 93, can be inserted into the frame, the insulation material suitably divided and the panels adhered to the slanting members 91, 93, and separate panels joined together by means of finishing strips 87 backed up by a vertical stud.

The plates interconnecting the frames of the ceiling panels and the frames of the side panels may take various shapes, as determined by the construction to be used, spacing, and the size of the concrete beams which will result when concrete is poured into the space between the walls. Various types of interconnecting plates can be used to join adjacent sidewalls together, corner elements, adjacent edge-welded plates, or the U-shaped channels can be welded together directly. The reinforcing rods, secured to the channels are then preferably brought out from the channels by such a distance that edge protection to the sides of the channels is provided. Where it is desired to place a door, or a window, the frames of the window units can be either set directly into the wall unit, or secured to the U-shaped channels by means of depending or upstanding strips or struts, made either of steel and welded to the panels, or of wood or other material and otherwise secured thereto, for example by bolts. In hotel construction and the like it is particularly desirable not to place a window unit but rather a door unit going from floor to ceiling, as a prefabricated element, so that special framing units are not needed. The stiffening braces interconnecting adjacent panels, and which may also be connected to the projecting reinforcing rods are preferably of such size and so located that they readily permit pouring of concrete and, when encased in concrete, provide additional reinforcing thereto; the outer surface may be ribbed, or roughed, or they may be set an an angular position with respect to gravity. Additional reinforcing rods, or reinforcing grids can be inserted where desired. The final closing off molds, or panels, at the outside of the building need not be flat. On the contrary, and as illustrated in FIG. 6 and 7, the molds may be so arranged that vertical concrete ribs 94 are formed, to provide a decorative appearance and, if desired, a support structure for terrace units or the like which can be prefabricated and set into openings or steps cast at the same time when the mold is made. Reinforcing rods, openings and the like in the concrete rib 94 have been omitted from the drawing since their arrangement will be in accordance with architectural requirements.

From the structure described, the method of erecting and assembling the building will be obvious. First, suitable panel structures are assembled together; then the channels are welded together, directly or by means of interconnecting plates, or the like, to form separate modular units. A base or support is prepared. Two modular units are placed on the support, with the sheet of cellular separating insulating material 29 therebetween. This sheet may be closed off at the top and at the side by means of a metal strip, such as a small aluminum, or steel channel, embracing the side of the polystyrene panel, and just sufficiently strong to prevent concrete from seeping into the porous cellular material. After two or more structures have been placed on the ground floor level, and properly aligned, the unitsare tied together by means of clips or wire ties 56. Outer molds, and end molds are put in place and concrete is poured in the spaces forming the vertical columns 52, 94, and the horizontal T beams 50 and L beams 57. The walls, although not strong enough to support a number of levels of units above each other are, however, strong enough to support the weight of the concrete poured into the mold formed by the walls and their terminating steel channels themselves. The cement is permitted to set sufficiently to be weight supporting. A second layer, that is a second story of prefabricated modular units can then be put in place, the fixed molds raised up one floor, reinforcing rods spliced to possibly projecting additional reinforcing rods from the first layer, and the concrete pouring step repeated. The weight of the entire structure will thus be carried by the concrete beams poured as the building proceeds upwardly, and not by the walls of the units themselves, so that the modular units can be made sufficiently light for easy handling by ordinary construction cranes and not requiring special equipment.

FIGS. l3, l4 & show another embodiment of the modular construction. Basic frame units 11, 96 & 97 are built up of steel channel as in FIG. 10 except that the channel flanges are faced inwardly with the web forming the periphery of the frame as opposed to the frame shown in FIG. 10 where the flanges face outwardly.

As in the previous construction a joist frame 96 is provided. Flooring 37 is applied and framing 11 can be set upright and topped by spacer 60 of wood, plastic, rubber or the like. A preassembled beam reinforcing system comprised of spaced formed steel braces 98 of, for example about 2-3 cm width, vertical straps 99 and reinforcing bars 53 are located as shown. Plywood panels 95 are secured to flat portions on the braces 98 to reinforce the concrete form.

FIG. 14 shows the filler panel 29 in place; it is supported on a tab 102. The upper edge of panel 29 finishes off the cavity in which a horizontal reinforced concrete beam results when filled with concrete. The space with the channel frame 11 may be filled with insultation and then faced with paneling 23 of, for example, about 1 .25 cm thick gypsum board.

FIG. 15 as taken on line 15-45 in FIG. 14 shows the crosssection that results of a column 52 formed when two panels are placed edgewise together as in FIG. 12. Frames 11 are spaced appropriately and secured with tie bars 100 which may be welded or bolted thereto. Reinforcing bars 53 are placed and tack welded or wired into position. Plywood forms 101, just strong enough to contain the poured concrete, for example less than 1 cm thick,are set into position and the concrete is poured to form column 52. Ifforms 101 are positioned flush with frames 11, paneling 23 may be applied continuously without interruption as in some conventional construction; if the walls are prefabricated, a joint will appear at the panels to be finished in conventional form. The forms 101 themselves can be prefabricated with the panels as vertical L" channels; the tie bars 100 may be welded to channels 11. Thus, an integral modular unit can be constructed from pre-assembled panels with space there-between to pour concrete columns and beams, to support additional modular units there-above. If, desired, and for large panels and walls, braces and studs 91, 92 (FIG. l2) can be incorporated in the walls, the braces and studs setting against the in-turned frames 11. The support structure including the channels 11, braces and studs 91, 92 can be all, or in part of aluminum. If these frames are aluminum then it is desirable that the aluminum and other metals are separated by electrically insulating materials. The spacer plate 60 should also be of electrically insulating materials, for example wood, neoprene rubber or the like, to prevent direct contact of the aluminum frame with the reinforcing braces 98 or other structures of different materials. Separate electrical interconnections to ground the metallic parts can be incorporated as well known.

Tie rods 100 in FIG. 15 can be connected directly to the frames 11, if the metals are compatible. If not, they can be connected to horizontally extending rein-forcing rods 53 in, or. adjacent the ceiling construction, and extending the length of the horizontal beams, which, in turn, are connected over braces 98 to the channels formed of panes and spacer 60 and to the walls, so that a light weight, unitary modular unit is obtained which can be easily shipped, lifted and handled.

The topmost modular unit will likewise have poured concrete therein to form a frame construction not only to hold the topmost unit in place, but also to form a support for a roof structure which can be erected thereover, by any well known rules. The roof itself can be formed of prefabricated panel units, supported by the beams and columns lattice which results when the free spaces between the panels, and defined by the various channels surrounding the panels of the modular units are filled with concrete which has hardened and set.

The structural unit, and the method of its erection has been described specifically in connection with prefabricated modular units for hotel, or motel construction; various changes and modification may be made as determined by architectural design, ceilings can be dropped, and floors elevated, and curtain walls erected even where no panel walls are intended to be, by placing frames as required by structural relationships s and the wall sheets as determined by the architect's design.

I claim:

1. Building structure comprising a group of adjacent modular units each modular unit comprising an assembly of panel structures forming at least two of the walls of a room unit, each of said panel structures being formed of at least one essentially rectangular panel of structural, form sustaining material, and channel members having a leg extending essentially in line with the panel and a base transverse thereto to form at least an outwardly directed, open L, the channel members being located at edges of the panels, the panels being secured to the leg; means interconnecting adjacent bases of said channel members of the panel structures to hold said channels together, with the open side of the channels facing outwardly with respect to the room unit, said means leaving the space outwardly of the channels, with respect to the room unit, essentially unobstructed to form a mold and permit pouring of concrete therein, the strength of the panel structures being suflicient to support poured wet cement into horizontally extending channel members, but insufficient to support further modular units thereabove,

poured concrete filling the space between adjacent vertically extending channels of the adjacent side walls of the modular unit to form vertical support columns;

and poured concrete filling the spaces between adjacent horizontally extending channels of adjacent side walls of the modular units, to form horizontally extending beams in weight transferring relation with said vertical support columns;

the vertical, concrete support columns, and the horizontally extending beams forming a weight supporting structure located within the outline of the: walls of said modular units without transferring substantial loading weight to the wall of the units.

2. Building structure according to claim 1 including an upper group of a plurality of adjacent modular units, the floor panel structure of said modular units of the upper group bearing against, and being supported by the poured horizontally extending beams formed by pouring concrete between adjacent channels of the lower group, whereby the upper group of modular units will be entirely supported by the beams.

3. Building structure according to claim 2 including an elastic insert interposed between the floor panel structure and the poured horizontally extending beam supporting said upper modular units.

4. Building structure according to claim 1 including a layer of cellular, inert material interposed between the adjacent modular units of the group, said inert material being of sufiicient mechanical strength to support superposed concrete of a thickness of the beam before hardening thereof.

5. Building structure according to claim 4, wherein said cellular inert material comprises a sheet of expanded polystyrene, polystyrene or polyurethane foam, or honeycomb material.

6. Building structure according to claim 1 including reinforcing rods inserted in at least one of the support columns and horizontally extending support beams;

means attaching said rods to the channels and spacing said rods from the legs of the channels, said attached rods protecting said channels of the modular units, and the wall structures thereof, against damage, provide lifting bars for the modular unit during assembly thereof into the group, and facilitate alignment of placement of the units in the group.

7. Building structure according to claim 6 further including means interconnecting the attached reinforcing rods of adjacent panel structures of modular units to secure said structures together before and during pouring of the concrete, and provide additional reinforcing material for the hardened concrete.

8. Building structure according to claim I, wherein the panel comprises a pair of spaced sheets extending essentially in parallel, with the free space therebetween corresponding essentially to the width of the base of the channel.

9. Building structure according to claim 8, including cellular filler material filling the space between said sheets.

10. Building structure according to claim 9, wherein said cellular filler material comprises expanded polystyrene, polystyrene foam, polyurethane foam, or a honeycomb material.

11. Building structure according to claim 1 wherein said panel structure is essentially rectangular; including edge plates interconnecting the sides of the channels extending along adjacent edges of the rectangle formed by the sides of the panel to provide an essentially continuous frame around at least three sides of the panel.

12. Building structure according to claim 1 wherein the channels extend around the sides of the panels as a continuous frame.

13. Building structure according to claim 1, wherein said channel members are U-shaped, at least one panel being secured to the side of the U-channel, the base of the U extending toward the panel and defining a free space between said legs and presenting an open U channel, outwardly directed, to form a mold for pouring of concrete therein.

14. Building structure according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said panel structures has an opening therein to form a door or window;

an opening frame set into said opening;

and means interconnecting said frame with said channels.

15. Building structure according to claim 14, wherein said opening is a door opening, and said frame is a door frame;

said door frame being secured to the channels of the respective panel structure.

16. Building structure according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the panels of the side wall panel structures is asbestos cement;

and the channels of said panel structures are of metal and interconnected by welding.

17. Building structure according to claim 1, having a floor frame;

including studs, interconnecting the channel at the top of the modular unit and the floor frame.

18. Building structure according to claim 1, including channel protection and concrete reinforcement means attached to said channels, comprising reinforcing rods extending essentially parallel to said channels, and means attaching said rods to said channels and spacing said rods from the legs of the channels and projecting from said channels by an amount to prevent accidental damage to said channels and said panel structures upon impending collision of outside objects with said unit.

19. Building structure according to claim 18, wherein said attaching means are steel braces of sufiicient strength to enable lifting of said entire modular units by said rods.

20. Building structure according to claim 19, wherein the channels of the panel structures, and the rods, are of metal,

and adjacent channels, said attaching means, and said rods are welded together.

21. Building structure according to claim 1, including side comer elements secured to and interconnecting adjacent sides of the channels to hold said channels together with the open side of the channel facing outwardly with respect to the room; and

ceiling comer elements comprising a structural element of weight-supporting material interconnecting the sides of the channel of the side walls and the sides of the ceiling panels.

22. Building structure according to claim 1, including spaced stiffening braces interconnecting the legs of the angles which are secured to the sides of the channels.

23. Building structure according to claim 22, wherein the stiffening braces extend transversely to the longitudinal direction of the channels and are located inside of the modular room unit.

24. Building structure according to claim 1, including spaced stiffening braces extending transversely to the longitudinal direction of the channels and located across the open face of the channel to permit filling of the channels with concrete and encasing said stiffening braces within the concrete.

25. Building structure according to claim 1, including a floor panel structure, said floor panel structure having an outer frame and panels interconnecting said outer frame;

the outer frame of said floor panel structure being secured to the lower portions of the channels of the panel structures forming the side walls of the modular unit.

26. Building structure according to claim 25, wherein the frame of the floor panel structure comprises a channel with the opening of the channel facing inwardly of the panel structure, the lower portions of the channels forming the frames for the side walls being secured to the channels of the floor panel structure; floor stringers fitting between the sides of the floor channels spanning and supporting said floor panels; and studs extending vertically behind the panels facing the inside of the modular units, and secured to the top channel of the respective panel structure and to the floor panel structure.

27. Building structure according to claim 1, including a frame forming the floor panel structure and comprising a U- shaped channel made of metal;

metal interconnecting elements are provided securing together at least two adjacent panel structures;

and all said channels and elements are metallically connected together to form a unitary modular room unit.

18. Building structure according to claim 1, wherein said modular unit has four side walls defining a room;

at least one of said side walls comprises a plurality of wall panel structures, located in alignment;

and means are provided interconnecting said channels of adjacent, aligned panel structures,

the vertically extending spaces between the open legs of the channels of adjacent, aligned panel structures permitting pouring of concrete therein to form a support column intermediate of the overall length of the unit.

29. Building structure according to claim 1, wherein said modular unit has four side walls defining a room;

and at least one of the side walls comprises at least one panel structure and an open rectangular frame formed of channels located to have the base of the channel inwardly of the frame, the channels of said frame being similar to the channels of said panel structures to provide a framing element for poured concrete without wall panels and permit placement of wall panels at a location within said roorn other than against the sides of the channels of said frame and provide additional space for utility lines.

30. Building structure according to claim 1, wherein said modular unit has four side walls, a ceiling and a floor;

at least one of said side walls comprises a support structure formed of vertical studs secured to the floor, and slightly shorter than room height;

a panel facing inwardly of the room;

the base of the top channel comprises a transverse web sup ported by said studs and essentially the same width as the depth of the studs to form a support for the pouring of concrete thereon;

and reinforcing means extending from said transverse web upwardly to about outside ceiling height, said reinforcing means being secured to said panel, and said panel and web defining said channels and said reinforcing means maintaining said panel in position when under pressure of wet concrete.

31. Building structure according to claim 30, wherein the reinforcing means comprises a sheet of plywood;

meta] braces interconnecting the plywood sheet and the web;

and reinforcing rods extending longitudinally of the modular unit secured to said braces.

32. Building structure according to claim 30, wherein the reinforcing means comprises a plurality of metal braces extending from said web toward the ceiling, said braces having flat surfaces adjacent said web, the panel and the ceiling;

said flat surfaces of the braces being attached to the web,

the panels and the ceiling respectively, and said web being attached to said studs.

t l I! II it

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U.S. Classification52/79.11, 52/309.9, 52/301, 52/745.3, 52/208
International ClassificationE04B1/348
Cooperative ClassificationE04B1/34807
European ClassificationE04B1/348B