Name: Shawn M. Curran
Company: Curran Architecture
Professional Designations: AIA
Q: What is your field of focus and what particular products do you specialize in?
We consider ourselves generalists. Our clients’ fields range from industrial to hospitality services and our projects involve everything from interior renovations to building additions and new construction.
Q: What are the benefits of using precast concrete products?
Precast concrete offers different benefits for different types of projects. For big box industrial buildings, we use precast panels because of their structural benefits and speed of erection. For office and retail projects, we use precast panels because they allow us to incorporate creative design elements that satisfy municipal architectural requirements while helping our clients stay within budget.
Q: What are some unique or interesting projects on which you specified precast concrete?
One of our clients needed an addition to a retail building a few years after we designed the original facility using conventional structural steel with brick veneer, an exterior insulation finishing system and cast stone over metal stud framing. The client asked about using precast concrete but didn’t want the addition to look like an afterthought. We achieved a seamless look by using liner panels that mimicked the brick and cast stone patterning. Then, we had the contractor continue the original EIFS cornice. The precast was painted to match the brick, EIFS and cast stone. The result is a low-maintenance addition that looks just like the original building.
We also used precast concrete for a warehouse with a two-story office component. The client wanted the office to feel progressive and contemporary with plenty of natural light, but the warehouse needed to have the durability of an industrial building. Precast solutions helped us exceed the client’s expectations. We used precast fins to support the second floor and roof, which allowed us to include floor-to-ceiling storefront glazing. We also included an exposed aggregate finish to give the office a professional atmosphere.
We designed a freestanding medical office in an area with very stringent architectural requirements. Brick and stone liner panels combined with cast-in reveals gave us a cost-effective precast solution that earned the municipality’s architectural approval. We had the liner panels painted to look like traditional brick and stone veneer, and we did it all without a bulky structural framing system, which would have taken up too much interior space and interfered with the client’s use of the building.
Q: How have you seen precast concrete evolve? How do you see it continuing to impact your work?
The introduction of liner panels has allowed us to use precast concrete solutions for projects that traditionally wouldn’t be considered precast buildings. We’ve also started using pigmented concrete and cast-in cornices on some projects, but those are not yet as prevalent in central Indiana as they are elsewhere.
For more information on Curran Architecture and the company’s projects employing precast concrete products, visit curran-architecture.com.