Concrete Design Awards

The Precast-Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Design Awards, now in its 57th year, showcase the creative and innovative use of precast and prestressed concrete in a variety of applications.

“Once again, the precast, prestressed concrete industry has put its best foot forward and has delivered many inspiring and impressive projects,” said PCI president and CEO Bob Risser, P.E. “Each year, the PCI Design Awards program demonstrates that precast, prestressed concrete is not only a practical solution to many construction challenges, but also a head-turning aesthetic solution.”

A panel of industry experts that includes precast concrete producers, engineers, and architects judges all nominees. The buildings and transportation categories are judged on aesthetic, structural, and use versatility; site, energy and operational efficiency, and risk reduction; and resiliency, such as structure durability, multi-hazard protection, and life safety and health.

One winner in the Western United States is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Temple in Tucson, Arizona, which stands as a welcoming beacon against the surrounding landscape. The designers selected precast concrete at the outset of the project because they knew it would allow them to accommodate many of the design and construction goals within the budget.

The temple is one-story building, but the architect wanted the appearance of a taller, more substantial structure. They also envisioned an Art Deco design featuring subtle stepping and textural elements, which they knew they could achieve using precast concrete.

The final design of the cladding used formed precast concrete panels with Art Deco “stepping-back” detailing that gives the building a sense of height. Ornamentation recessed into the precast concrete panels includes interlocking circles and subtle reference to desert cacti. A deep, three-dimensional (3D) raking pattern in the frieze portion of the horizontal moldings and bands adds further detail to the facade.

The complex details in the cladding facade contribute to a soaring, elegant structure with a dynamic appearance that shifts as the desert sun casts shadows throughout the day. Elements expressed in wood and stone on the interior of the temple are also mimicked on the exterior using precast concrete and art glass.

Along with delivering the desired design, the architect’s choice of precast concrete helped accommodate the tight construction schedule. The precast concrete company joined the project early in the design phase, and the precaster was able to use the 3D model to profile the front and backside of the panels, which saved time in the shop-drawing phase and expedited the overall construction schedule.

The full list of 2020 winners can be found here.

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