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High Concrete AFB project commands PCI Design Award

Denver, Pa.-based High Concrete Group won the top prize in the military structures category of the 50th Annual PCI Design Awards competition. The company produced the architectural precast concrete walls for the 711th Human Performance Wing Complex at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Fariborn, Ohio.

Designers persuaded the Corps of Engineers to use precast concrete panels embedded with thin brick, instead of laid-up brick veneer, as the precast could offer better quality control and faster production due to its off-site casting. According to Dave Mankowski, senior project manager for Archer Western/Butt Construction, “Partnering with High Concrete Group, the structural engineer, and the structural fabricator, we successfully allowed off-site fabrication of precast panels and structural steel to run concurrently. In essence, three major building components were being built both on-site and off-site at the same time during the winter months. As a result, sequencing of the structural steel erection and precast panel erection was able to begin concurrently in April 2009, versus the original scheduled start of precast in July 2009, a 90-day schedule improvement. That improvement was maintained throughout the completion and turnover of the project which gave the government a nearly 90-day head start on moving into the entire 679,000-sq.-ft. complex.”

To complement adjacent buildings, designers worked with the precaster to find the appropriate color in a 5/8-in.-thick brick for the building’s façade. Some areas also used exposed architectural panels in a buff color with a light sandblast finish. Furthermore, to overcome concerns about aesthetic quality, the Request For Proposal (RFP) included specifications that panels would provide a toothed appearance at the building corners and expansion joints located at the column center lines.

The $194.5 million complex is the centerpiece for Wright-Patterson’s $334 million Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) construction program. The Department of Defense 2005 BRAC Act consolidated military programs and closed excess bases to save money. As part of the act, numerous medical research functions from across the country were relocated to the base, including the U.S. Navy’s Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory and the U.S. Air Force Physiological Training Unit.

The PCI Design Awards honors design excellence and construction quality in buildings and transportation structures that use precast concrete. This year, a panel of five independent judges representing the construction industry honored 27 buildings out of 112 qualified entries from throughout North America.

Project Principals

General Contractor:
Archer Western Contractors Ltd.
(Chicago, Ill.)/ Butt Construction Co.
(Dayton, Ohio) Joint Venture

Architect of Record:
Cannon Design, Arlington, Va.

Associate Architect:
Burgess & Niple, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio

Structural Engineer:
THP Limited Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio

Architect/Engineer for RFP:
KZF/BWSC Joint Venture, Cincinnati, Ohio