The Creative Use of Precast (CUP) Awards bring out the best of precast plants.
The Creative Use of Precast Awards Program recognizes innovative projects that promote the aesthetic and cost-saving advantages of precast concrete over competing materials. Competition is divided into three sections to represent the various product types: Building & Housing, Specialty and Transportation products. The awards were presented at the 40th Annual NPCA Convention, and a description of each project follows. Projects meriting Honorable Mention are also presented here.
Building & Housing Products Award Winner
Smith-Midland Corp., Midland, Va.
Marriott ExecuStay, New York
Rising 32 stories above the corner of 3rd Avenue and 37th Street of “The Big Apple” is the home of Marriott ExecuStay, executive apartments for extended stays.
Architect H. Thomas O’Hara created this strong, functional and cost-effective high-rise in the heart of the city using the Slenderwall architectural precast concrete panel system. The panels, manufactured by Smith-Midland Corp. of Midland, Va., feature 2 inches of precast concrete secured to a heavy-gauge galvanized steel frame by epoxy-coated stainless steel Nelson anchors. The panels were cast with a simulated limestone finish and brick accents as prescribed by the architect.
The “lift and release” system designed into the panels allowed for an accelerated construction schedule, reducing the estimated time by almost two months. The panels’ light weight also eliminated the need for larger installation cranes, reducing by half the costs associated with traditional construction. With the Slenderwall system, two sides of the building cantilever out over lower buildings without column supports for the floor slabs. This created enough additional space on this particular project to allow for an additional apartment.
The technology allows isolation from the exterior precast concrete skin and the structural stresses associated with wind loading, structural steel movement, expansion and contraction, and seismic shock.
PO Box 300
Midland, VA 22728
(w) (540) 439-3266
(f) (540) 439-1232
Specialty Products Award Winner
Rose Concrete Products, Scott City, Mo.
Noble Park Entranceway, Paducah, Ky.
For the past century, Noble Park has offered Paducah families a safe and beautiful place to gather for picnics, baseball games and other community events. As the park approached its 100th anniversary, the Paducah Parks Services Department started planning an architectural landmark that would instill civic pride and provide an identity for the park.
The winning idea suggested a castle-themed entrance that would reinforce the park’s “noble” status. As one Park Services official put it, the park’s name lends itself to a vision of medieval times, nobility and castles.
The concept called for an entranceway measuring 16 feet tall and 40 feet wide – a monumentally expensive and lengthy undertaking for cast-in-place concrete. But when Rose Concrete Products Inc. bid on the project, its design team offered a much more attractive alternative: on-site assembly. City officials approved the creative solution, and work on the project began.
The finished precast sections were produced with 60-inch manhole forms. A Simon’s sandstone liner placed between the core and jacket produced a decorative finish. Color additives gave the sections a realistic appearance. The crowns on the castle towers and the beam across the turrets were handmade from scratch.
By using precast concrete construction, the parks department saved half of the estimated cost and a quarter of the estimated construction time compared with cast-in-place. Besides becoming a civic landmark, the castle entranceway serves as the central design component in the park’s logo. The new landmark also provides a beautiful focal point for holiday lighting and landscaping, courtesy of the local residents.
Rose Concrete Products Inc.
733 Rose Con Road
Scott City, MO 63780
(w) (573) 264-2162
(f) (573) 264-2222
Transportation Products Award Winner
San Diego Precast Concrete, San Diego, Calif.
Magnetic Levitation Guide Way Rail, San Diego, Calif.
Precast concrete is on the fast track to the future – literally. San Diego Precast Concrete Inc. teamed up with General Atomics of San Diego, Calif., to build a magnetic levitation guide way rail. The Maglev project is expected to open up new opportunities in high-speed and transportation systems.
But before the system could be created, it first had to be tested.
To facilitate the need to test the concept and then expand into the final rail system, it was designed to consist of identical length precast units. The unit design, a creation of General Atomics, is a sectional precast concrete unit with copper plates encased in stainless steel and running the full length of each unit. Super conductor magnets pass a magnetic current through the attached plates to levitate the transport sled, which is propelled by six solid rocket boosters and measures roughly 8 feet long by 2 feet wide.
The concrete mix design for the units is highly complex and was extremely difficult to formulate and refine to meet the unusual 3,000 flexural strength requirements. To complicate this formulation, the precast units could not contain any steel reinforcement, as it would interfere with the magnetic fields generated during use. To meet the strength requirements without the use of the normal steel reinforcement, the final mix design included only stainless steel fibers and carbon fibers. The stainless steel fibers were used exclusively in the top 20 inches of the unit. From that point to the bottom of each unit, carbon fibers were used. Magnets ensured that the fibers remained in their respective areas.
The first phase of the project will consist of 150 units, which will create the first quarter-mile of test track, and the completed test track will extend for approximately five miles.
San Diego Precast Concrete Inc.
9702 Prospect Ave.
Santee, CA 92071-4209
(w) (619) 449-6810
(f) (619) 449-5805
Arto Brick, Gardena, Calif.
City Hall Common Area, Los Angeles
Los Angeles City Hall, an artful blend of California and Mediterranean traditions, is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. First dedicated and occupied in 1928, it has been featured in numerous film and television productions. However, with less than two months before Mayor James Hahn’s inauguration, the city was in a bind. The original clay tile walks installed 73 years ago needed to be replaced due to a comprehensive renovation and seismic retrofit of the complex.
Not surprisingly, the aesthetic needs of the Historical Committee (color, size, wear) came into conflict with the day-to-day requirements of the Architectural Committee (traffic, load, maintenance). Arto Brick came to the rescue with a unique production process that not only replicated the appearance of the original clay tile walks but would also wear and age in a similar fashion. As the tiles age, they develop a beautiful patina much like the original clay tile walks have developed over decades of use.
Each of the 16,600 paver tiles was handcrafted from fiber-reinforced concrete for beauty and durability. With two shifts working seven days a week, the project was finished within 30 days. The fast-track deadline also led to an innovative grouting process where setting mortar was used as grout that allowed the floor to be completed in one operation. Not only did the installation result in significant cost savings, the use of concrete pavers proved extremely cost-effective compared with competing materials. After three years of heavy city traffic and bustling activity, the custom pavers have gracefully withstood the heavy traffic associated with this site without sacrificing the classic beauty of the original clay tile walks.
15209 S. Broadway St.
Gardena, CA 90248
(f) (310) 768-8544
(w) (310) 768-8500
Hancock Concrete Products Co., Cannon Falls, Minn.
City Welcome Signs, Cannon Falls, Minn.
Welcome signs posted at a city’s perimeters say something about the warm regards of the local populace. For more than 10 years, leaders of the Business Industrial Commission of Cannon Falls had discussed erecting such welcome signs for visitors to its city but had not been able to push the project forward.
Then at last, Hancock Concrete Products Co. Inc. changed all that as it took up the cause. The company developed a design, shared it with the group, and the momentum picked up steam. A small committee further defined the sign project and presented it to the city commission. And it took off from there: Local contractors, suppliers and a crane company all agreed to donate time and resources to the effort.
Design work on two precast signs featuring posts, columns and headwalls quickly ensued after committee approval. Form liners offered a native sandstone appearance that captured the historic essence of the local community. Staining the finished concrete rather than using color additives in the mix created time to produce the pieces as the schedule allowed and to acquire the perfect color, which would capture the look of the native limestone cliffs along the local river.
After addressing Department of Transportation permit issues, the signs were quickly erected. After staining the concrete, a local volunteer painted the letters in a darker color to ensure the signs stand out to all who drive through town. It was a long-time dream of city leaders, and precast concrete made it a reality.
Hancock Concrete Products Co. Inc.
PO Box 451
Cannon Falls, MN 55009
(f) (507) 263-3937
(w) (507) 263-3935
Norwalk Concrete Industries, Norwalk, Ohio
Huron County Veterans Memorial Stage, Norwalk, Ohio
Building a performance stage for the Huron County Veterans Memorial in just one month with a limited budget presented a unique opportunity – and challenge – for the Norwalk Rotary Club. Time and money factors aside, this would not be a simple project, as the stage had to incorporate accessibility for the disabled, electrical connections for a sound system as well as an architectural appearance to complement the recently completed memorial. But members of the group knew they were up to the task.
The group elected to build a precast concrete structure to ensure completion of the stage in time for its dedication. Norwalk Concrete Industries was commissioned to prepare drawings and finalize plans with the Rotary Club as the project moved forward. In less than two weeks, the five 8-inch reinforced architectural panels, a three-piece deck and handicap access ramp rolled out of the precast plant. Structural plates with Nelson studs were cast into the panels to provide welded connections and a simple means of erecting and aligning the panels. Self-consolidating concrete and well-blended natural aggregates ensured a consistent limestone finish from the form liner.
Despite a torrential downpour, crews excavated a hole and erected the stage in five hours. The quick turnaround time allowed final landscaping plans and electrical connections to be completed well before the event. Cast-in-place construction would have more than doubled the price over precast and would have taken more than three weeks to complete.
Though completed in an extremely short time, the stage is an enduring and meaningful tribute to veterans.
Norwalk Concrete Industries
80 Commerce Drive
Norwalk, OH 44857
(t) (800) 733-3624
(f) (419) 663-0627
Oldcastle Precast, Edgewood, Md.
Steiner Studios, Brooklyn Navy Yard, N.Y.
Lights, camera, action! Film and television came to life following the completion of Steiner Studios’ production facility. Steiner is the largest, most modern production facility east of Los Angeles, with more than 100,000 square feet of soundstages and an additional 180,000 square feet to be utilized for dressing and makeup rooms, screening rooms and more.
With Steiner’s need for five soundproof sound stages, Oldcastle Precast Building Systems of Edgewood, Md., recognized that precast concrete’s inherent soundproofing properties were a natural fit for the studio. Another unique specification called for prefabricated wall panels with openings of 28 by 20 feet for “elephant doors” between all stages. The walls, floors, columns and beams of the facility were also constructed with precast concrete. Glass curtain walls running the height of the building offer attractive spaces for commissary, lobby and production.
Erection of the studio complex was completed with two cranes in just 70 days. The $30 million facility will offer studio executives, production personnel and talent an expansive site as they work to develop new projects for film and television fans.
1401 Trimble Road
Edgewood, MD 21040
(w) (410) 612-1213
(f) (410) 612-1214
W.T. Liston Co., LaFeria, Texas
Water Kiosks, LaFeria, Texas
In this small town at the southern tip of Texas, Entrepure Industries and Avant Premium Water & Ice were faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem. They needed 200 water and ice vending kiosks that could be centrally preassembled, would have the ability to be drop-shipped regionally and nationally, and would be aesthetically pleasing. More importantly, the kiosks needed to be economical and virtually maintenance free.
The company’s owner had used precast concrete kiosks in the past and knew that’s what he needed, but those were manufactured from panel molds, and there was no time to pour, cure, ship and assemble them. So the owner consulted local precaster W.T. Liston Co. to find an answer.
The solution was a precast shell manufactured from a dedicated mold. Wieser Engineering and Manufacturing Inc. of Menomonie, Wis., fabricated a mold for the shell. After a flawless test pour, the kiosk shell project began immediately. The end result of utilizing precast shells has provided Entrepure Industries with a consistent and durable structure to house its vending equipment.
The indestructible kiosks are vital to the company’s owner. Plastic and fiberglass products wear and damage easily, and steel rusts and dents. All are susceptible to vandalism. But now the company’s owner has developed a new buzz phrase to commemorate his success: Nobody messes with concrete.
W. T. Liston Co.
(w) (956) 797-3227
PO Box 1905
La Feria, TX 78559
(t) (800) 797-3227
(f) (956) 797-3130