Log in

A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects 

Serving Michigan's Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, and Washtenaw Counties
Log in

Precast Prototypes: A Collaborative Research Study into the Innovative Possibilities of Precast Concrete Commercial Building Prototypes

  • Wednesday, January 20, 2021
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Zoom webinar


Registration is closed

AIA Huron Valley is pleased to present  Precast Prototypes:  A Collaborative Research Study into the Innovative Possibilities of Precast Concrete Commercial Building Prototypes with Ralph Nelson, Associate Professor, College of Architecture and Design at Lawrence Technological University 

 1.0 LU|HSW  Course # AIAHVCE0402

Important:  Please use this link to register:

Description:  Precast Prototypes is a design research project exploring innovative commercial building prototypes that employ precast concrete elements as the primary construction system.  The project addresses design innovation through the expression of optimized precast systems in structure and enclosure.  The project leverages technological innovation in the industry including CNC fabrication of formwork and testing new applications of robotic and 3-D printed fabrication to optimize elements while minimizing cost and material.  The project demonstrates the innovation in practice possible by synthesizing design and industrial production in a collaborative partnership between a precast concrete company and an architectural academic research team.  

HSW Justification:  The course explores the possibilities inherent in utilizing precast concrete elements as a means to design a variety of building types utilizing a mass-produced system of fabrication that meet specific performance standards for thermal enclosure, daylight, vertical and horizontal circulation, structural logic, spatial variations, and aesthetic qualities while also meeting cost-benefit goals for mass production.      

 1.0 LU|HSW

Learning objectives:

  1. Discuss the history of manufactured prestressed precast concrete for building systems in the U.S.  Consider its origin in the technological, industrial and transportation advances following WWII. 
  2. Consider the innovations in the application of stranded cables in pre-stressing structural concrete elements to resist high tensile forces and concrete creep, the refinement of structural profiles to optimize load vectors, and the testing and advancement of material knowledge developed by the military, university researchers, and industry. 
  3. Discuss the development of the "double-tee" structural element and the variations possible based on this typology. 
  4. Consider the effect of the transportation system on the precast concrete industry, first limiting distribution and then utilizing precast concrete elements to expand the system of inter-state highways and the national freeway system. 
  5. Discuss the 1960's and the rise of precast concrete buildings designed by Minoru Yamasaki and others, expanding beyond the initial uses for storage and industrial buildings to create buildings that are beautiful and memorable, due to the use of precast concrete. 
  6. Review the process of a collaborative research project between industry and academics that included a tour of a precast plan in Grandville, MI to gain an understanding of the fabrication process, the range of precast elements produced and the constants and variables open for design opportunities, then the goal setting for the pragmatic criteria that would benefit the precast industry as well as allow for design research innovation that would explore performance and aesthetic standards. 
  7. Review the twelve Building Types and thirty-six Building Variants that emerged in this research on Precast Concrete Prototypes.  Consider the modular structural matrix utilized and the spatial variations and asymmetrical relationships of space and form. 

Do not register on the AIAHV website - please register directly using the eventbrite link above to receive CE credit.  

© AIA Huron Valley
Powered by Wild Apricot. Try our all-in-one platform for easy membership management