A collaboration of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Foundation and Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) has enabled aspiring architects
A collaboration of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Foundation and Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) has enabled aspiring architects and engineers to obtain specialized training in design and construction through the Precast Studio at IIT. According to Professor Tom Brock, the program reinforces IIT’s materials emphasis by targeting precast, thus highlighting an alternative to wood and steel construction featured in the architecture school curriculum.
Precast Studio participants now have an opportunity to test their mettle Û or rather, precast design skills Û in the 2008 PCI student competition for schools. Specifically, entries will address a call by Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS) for design proposals suiting a college-prep, math-and-science-oriented high school for 600 students. The designated CICS site on Chicago’s south side is a long, narrow parcel at an angle to the city grid.
In early December, school designs created by 10 Precast Studio students were reviewed by area architects and precast producers in anticipation of the competition’s final judging in May. At Crown Hall, a Mies van der Rohe building (circa 1956) on the IIT campus, feedback was provided by PCI producer members, including Floyd Page and Ed Boyle, vice president and plant manager, respectively, at Lombard Architectural Precast Products Co. in Alsip, Ill.; Phil Iverson, director of business development at Spancrete of Illinois in Arlington Heights, Ill.; and, Greg Fisher of South Beloit, Ill.-based Mid-States Concrete Products Co. Also guiding students via keen observation and questioning were Keith Allen of Consulting Engineers Group, Inc., in Mt. Prospect, Ill., and PCI of IL & WI Executive Director Marty McIntyre.
Having an actual client and the input of precast producers keeps our Studio work real, notes Professor Brock. Those two factors provide the incentive and expertise ensuring that students are able to translate imaginative vision to buildable design.