Precast concrete is everywhere. You see it at road construction sites waiting to be buried. It keeps motorists safe as traffic barriers. It lines the expressways in the form of sound walls and retaining walls. It also clads countless office buildings, forms their interiors and is the main component of many vital infrastructure products, like bridges, culverts and tunnels.
And, in some cities, precast reaches high into the sky as a component of some of the world’s, tallestbuildings. An entry on the blog Smashing USA, which highlights unique features across the country, lists the top 50 tallest buildings in the U.S.
Coming it at number 36 on that list – and 83rd in the world – Park Tower in Chicago rises an impressive 844 ft. (257 m.). While the tower isn’t the tallest building in the Chicago skyline, it is the second-tallest building in the U.S. to be clad in architectural precast concrete. The entire structure, actually, is made of concrete. The 70-story building houses a 203-room Park Hyatt Hotel and condos.
The tallest building to use precast concrete, and arguably most recognizable building in the San Francisco skyline, is the Transamerica Pyramid. It stands at 850 ft. (260m) and houses retail and office space. When the building was completed in 1972, it was among the five tallest buildings in the world. The exterior precast contains crushed white quartz to give the building its pure white color.
While precast concrete often serves a very functional purpose as the infrastructure of our country’s buildings and making modern comforts possible, it also can add beauty to function, as these structures show. Whether it’s architectural cladding on buildings, security features that seamlessly blend into even the most upscale environments or creating breathtaking features for commercial and residential landscaping, precast concrete adds unmatched beauty and durability to our environment.
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