A ‘micro-village’ of knowledge

The monumental Winter Park Library and Events Center, located outside of Orlando, Fla., boasts compound, convex exterior precast walls that form three arched pavilions, mirroring the community’s extensive tree canopies. PCI-certified producer GATE Precast Co. (Kissimmee, Fla.) worked alongside New York-based architecture firm Adjaye Associates on the 56,000-sq.-ft. campus that is composed of a two-story library, events center with rooftop terrace, and a welcome portico.

“Critical to the design of the project was its geometry, which features outwardly slanting walls that provide solar shading for interior comfort and energy efficiency,” says Russell Crader, associate principal at Adjaye Associates. “To meet the ambitions of the design in terms of ease of maintenance, resiliency, aesthetics, and energy reduction, precast concrete was identified as the basis for development and the most efficient construction assembly.”

Roughly 27,000 square feet of rose-colored precast concrete panels were manufactured by GATE to complete the three-building “micro-village.” The company used a series of 50 twisted-shape forms with connection plates set at varying elevations to produce each of the 182 panels for the three structures. The panel forms were fabricated using stacked plywood cut using a computer numerical control machine to ensure accuracy. Panels were finished with a glass-blast treatment to expose the four different types of aggregate included in the mixture design, allowing the appearance of each pavilion to change throughout the day based on the angle of the sunlight hitting it.

The project team, which also included PCI-certified erector Team Precast Group (Lincoln University, Pa.), overcame a number of design and construction challenges: installing the panels at acute angles, coordinating the connection points from the precast concrete to the steel structure, and various handling and erection issues associated with the buildings’ slanted designs. Ultimately, the Winter Park Library and Events Center has become a testament to the fluidity and design capabilities of precast concrete while creating a space for community empowerment and edification.

Since opening in December 2021, the Winter Park Library and Events Center has seen a 64 percent increase in cardholders. PHOTOS: PCI