Courtesy of Harvey Mudd College
Known for sticking to core markets, MATT construction tried a new way to build a concrete slab.

MATT Construction is one contractor that has not scrambled to find the next hot market. "Our strategy has always been to stay with our core competencies and core markets," says Marvin Wheat, president. "Schools, museums and non-profits that we serve have tended to retain funding for their projects."

This strategy has secured the contractor some truly impressive projects. It currently is working on The Broad, an $80-million art museum in downtown Los Angeles.

One of the most interesting of MATT's projects is the Teaching and Learning Building at Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, Calif., designed by Boora Architects with structural engineering provided by kpff. It features BubbleDeck, a reinforced-concrete building slab in which the center horizontal core is replaced with "voids"—recycled-plastic balls filled with air or lightweight insulation.

BubbleDeck is designed to increase biaxial span lengths by reducing the weight and increasing the tensile strength of reinforced- concrete slabs.

The system has been used widely in Europe and Canada, but this is one of the first times it has been tried in the U.S. "We just figured out how to get it done," says Daniel Stafford, operations vice president at MATT.

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