Expanding Our Reach

 
Thursday -
August
24,
2017
 

Professor Carlos Barrios brought students from his Fall 20017 precast studio to Tindall Concrete's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant to spend a day getting some hands-on experience with precast. 

Thursday -
August
24,
2017
 

I had a great opportunity to visit the Washington Universities Solar Decathlon project in St. Louis last week. Students assembled precast components from five different precast manufacturers to give a "first look" at the project. After this summer, the home will be disassembled and brought to the Solar Decathlon that takes place in Denver October 5-15, 2017. WashU Chancellor Mark Wrighton spoke to the group about how this project led to great opportunities to allow students from architecture, engineering and other departments work together. 

Tuesday -
August
08,
2017
 

Student Design Explorations of Precast for an Extreme Climate

Doug Noble and Karen Kensak share their experience with a PCI Foundation Studio this year.

The Spring 2017 PCI Foundation Studio in the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California continued the tradition of examining precast concrete in the context of Joshua Tree National Park. 

Tuesday -
August
08,
2017
 

The real success of PCI Foundation proposals comes from the partnership forged between the school and the local producers. The local partner - usually a PCI producer or group of producers - is not only provides in-kind support, such as tours of the plant or projects, personnel to give engineering support, and a variety of materials - but also helps ensure that the program meets the needs of the local industry.

Tuesday -
August
01,
2017
 

Doug Noble from USC shares his thoughts on the future of the precast program at USC.

The PCI Foundation has been supporting research and education in the School of Architecture at USC for several years.  A goal of the PCI Foundation sponsorship program is to provide a seed that launches a lasting and long-term impacts. As the formal part of the program comes to an end, the question becomes "what happens next?"  What were the past impacts of the PCI Foundation program, and what are the current and future impacts.
 
In the past, we have run annual precast concrete architectural design studios for 4th-year students in the bachelor of architecture program.  The studio emphasized the strengths of precast as part of a high thermal mass architecture for the extreme climate of Joshua Tree National Park.  Students learned how to use the large daily temperature swings with high-mass precast to create comfortable interior conditions without the use of mechanical systems.  Students also learned about the advantages of off-sire fabrication to reduce construction site impacts inside the National Park.  As part of the studio, we visited precast producers (thank you Clark Pacific) and received educational seminars from Doug Mooradian at PCI West (until his retirement this year). We are looking forward to the same kind of engagement with Ruth Lehmann as she embarks on her new role.  Also as part of the past program, we hosted precast concrete conferences, inviting architects to learn about precast building envelopes.  From these conferences, we created publications about precast concrete case studies.  We also integrated precast into the 2nd-year "materials and methods" course.  Some PCI funds were used to support prizes for jury-selected projects at the end of each year. This year, the studio students participated in a hands-on precast day at Clark Pacific, and we physically constructed two facade panels.  One of the panels will become part of a research program this fall semester here at USC.
 
Going forward, the studio will continue.  The precast studio has become a part of the studio culture, and it will continue indefinitely.  The exact plan for the 2018 studio is not yet clear because Doug Noble has earned a sabbatical as he completes 25 years of teaching at USC.  Working with Clark Pacific, we are developing a plan to build a full-scale building envelope as a demonstration project at Joshua Tree, and Clark Pacific has committed to continue with the hands-on program for future years.  The relationship between USC and the precast industry is excellent.  In fact, this summer USC will complete the construction of the USC University Village, a collection of seven mixed-used residential colleges that were constructed with precast envelopes.
 
Doug Noble and Karen Kensek will attend the PCI Convention in 2018 to report on our work, and we hope to continue to join you annually with additional reports

Thursday -
July
06,
2017
 

Tom Kelley, vice chairman of the PCI Foundation and president of Gage Brothers in Sioux Falls, South Dakota has worked with the Precast Studio at South Dakota State University for the last four years. He shares some of his experience with the students here:

What I really like about this studio is that we work with the students directly, and they have a hands-on experience.  

Thursday -
July
06,
2017
 

Ansley Prodoehl has been able to enjoy the Precast Studio at both the South Dakota State University and University of Colorado at Denver.

Thursday -
July
06,
2017
 

The PCi Foundation has worked for the last two years with University of Michigan to create a digital fabrication laboratory. Asa Peller shares more about how the students work during his time at the 2017 PCI Convention.

Thursday -
July
06,
2017
 

The PCI Foundation has worked with Carlos Barrios at Clemson University for the last three years. The program has developed over the years as the relationship with the local industry broadened. This year, the students developed designs for an embassey in the Washington, DC area. 

Wednesday -
July
05,
2017
 

In June, the PCI Foundation recently approved a 4-year grant to the Georgia Technology Institute (Georgia Tech) to run a new Precast Studio in the School of Architecture and the School of Engineering.