PCI Foundation firms up 2015 university commitments; launches professor program

The PCI Foundation serves as a not-for-profit organization to foster improvement of the quality and sustainability of the built environment. Programs work in conjunction with Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute content to create a liaison between the precast industry and education. PCIF has sponsored programs in schools of architecture, engineering and construction management since 2007. Executive Director Marty McIntyre recently announced plans for the new year.BRF-PCI-400


During 2015, the PCIF will fund educational programs running at:

  • Clemson University. School of Architecture Professor Carlos Barrios will work with students on a transit design program, offered in year two of a four-year study. Students will gain understanding of digital design solutions to precast concrete for innovative and sustainable design in architecture.
  • Minnesota State at Mankato. Professors Farhad Reza and Mohamed Diab from the schools of engineering and construction management run an integrated program that will study a real-world project in conjunction with Wells Concrete in Albany, Minn. The program is in its first academic year.
  • Rhode Island School of Design. Housed in the school of architecture, this program is taught by professors Jim Barnes and Brett Schneider. The studio is designed create opportunities for serious engagement with industry as a strategy for learning about construction technology and the industry as a whole.
  • South Dakota State University. School’s program pairs architecture and construction management students toward an end goal of a project they design and build using precast supplied by Gage Brothers in Sioux Falls, S.D. Professor Brian Rex leads the program.
  • University of Southern California. Students will work with Joshua Tree National Park officials to help create a future building plan for the facility to include precast concrete. Taught in the school of architecture by professors Douglas Noble and Karen Kensek, the program is in its third year. Additionally, speakers covering precast topics will be part of a USC-sponsored enclosure conference.
  • University of Texas at Arlington. Now in year two, the PCIF program at UTA studies digital design tools’ impact on the methods and types of precast formwork. It is led by architecture professor Bradley Bell.
  • University of North Florida. The foundation-sponsored portion of the UNF studio will finish its five-year run in March. Dr. Adel ElSafty from the Civil Engineering school will continue the program, featuring guest speakers, Big Beam contest participation and design courses. Students graduating from this program have gone on to work for state departments of transportation, bridge designers and engineering firms.

The Foundation is introducing a three-day program for architecture professors who wish to learn more about precast concrete design and how it can be taught in the university classroom or studio. The intensive workshop will include instruction from college professors already teaching precast as part of PCIF grants, precast industry experts, and architects with precast design experience.

In addition to the new seminar, professors and selected students involved in Foundation-funded university programs will receive travel grants to the PCI Convention or Committee Days. As part of this grant, they participate in a poster session where PCI members can learn first hand of PCIF-sponsored activities.

“We are very excited about the variety of programs and quality of the professors involved,” says McIntyre. The new professors seminar program in 2015, she adds, “will give our industry an opportunity to influence how precast design and construction is being taught a number of universities.”