Mt. Vernon, Iowa—The Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA)—a non-profit international organization that serves to expand and improve the use of Tilt-Up as the preferred construction method—has announced the recipients of the 2009 Tilt-Up Achievement Awards.

In its 18th consecutive year, the Achievement Awards program was established by TCA to honor projects that use site cast tilt-up concrete to introduce new building types, advance industry technology and provide unique solutions to building programs. Projects were reviewed by a panel of 12 judges representing a combination of TCA membership categories, educational institutions, publishing and industry management. Several judges worked collaboratively within companies to broaden the perspective and the experience base used to evaluate the projects. As in previous years, submittals were judged on aesthetic expression, schedule, size, originality, finishes, and special conditions; all characteristics of the projects that would attract and hold the interest of architects and building owners. To qualify for consideration, projects had to be submitted by a TCA member in good standing from any membership category.

According to Jim Baty, technical director of the TCA, the judges commented on the parity that existed this year from the heightened ability of today’s design and construction professionals to employ the more creative and expressive aspects of the tilt-up system across the ever broadening range of projects.

Projects were encouraged from any market segment and were specifically aligned into categories and sub-categories including manufacturing/industrial, corporate headquarters complex, warehouse/distribution (small business/distribution, speculative), retail (life-style centers – walking malls, single occupant, and "big box"), office (one-two story, three stories and higher, and technology centers), spiritual buildings, educational (K-12 and higher education), institutional (detention/correction, low-rise, parking garage, service facilities such as hospitals and care centers), commercial (hotels, golf clubs, recreation, theaters, etc.), housing, special projects, and innovative application techniques.

This year, the panel of judges recognized a total of 44 award recipients of the more than 100 entries submitted and selected five projects from across all categories to receive the exclusive title, Excellence in Achievement. These projects, detailed below, exemplify the current state-of-the-art achievement in tilt-up construction with their unique and inventive use of the tilt-up method.

The New Children’s Museum

  • A 47,856-square-foot museum in San Diego, Calif.
  • Submitted by: Erickson-Hall Construction Co. of Escondido, Calif.
  • Products for this project supplied by: Dayton Superior Corporation.

Despite its name, San Diego’s Children’s Museum has always been more of a freewheeling exploration space than a formal museum. So when it came time to design a new space, museum leaders wanted a building with the feel of an artist’s loft, where creative energy could flow. To achieve this vision, the architect for the project came up with a design solution that presents a modern take on the no-nonsense warehouses of another era. Working with a tight budget, the Children’s Museum hired the general contractor early in the design process to provide pre-construction services including cost control and value engineering. Tilt-up was selected over cast-in-place concrete, which would have been more hazardous, time-consuming and costly. The use of tilt-up saved the project an estimated $140,000 and shaved a full six weeks off the construction schedule. Four main tilt-up walls stand side-by-side in rows (one is slanted outward to give the impression of a building bursting at the seams with fun) and are connected by walls of fully transparent glass. The structure is topped with slanted roof panels separated by sloped clerestory windows, imbuing the museum with light and providing wide-open views of the neighborhood. Exposed "temporary braces" hold the tilt-up panels in place illustrating and teaching concepts of gravity and structure. These permanently exposed braces also provided cost-saving value for the project. The height of the tilt-up walls (52 feet) means they can accommodate gigantic canvases and three-dimensional art pieces can dangle from high ceilings. Winner of a number of awards (including two from the American Institute of Architects and two from the Associated Builders and Contractors), the combination of creative architecture and durable, sustainable materials gives the museum exactly what they wanted: a "non-precious" building where young artists are free to spill a little paint.

Sunset Community Centre

  • A 30,000-square-foot civic building in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Submitted by: Fast + Epp Structural Engineers of Vancouver, British Columbia

The design of the Sunset Community Centre, a multi-use facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, grew out of a variety of influences, including the topography and geographical orientation of the site, the location of a neighboring nursery, and the cultural diversity of the district in which it resides. After the site was excavated, the material was used to form a series of grassy berms, the lines of which are repeated within the building in the form of a free-form curved steel roof, largely resting on the 46 uniquely shaped double-wythe tilt-up panels. In keeping with the palette of local materials, the interior faces of the panels were left exposed, and were hand-ground for a smooth finish and then treated with a clear sealant to preserve the color of the concrete. A floating precast concrete staircase was cantilevered from the tilt-up walls. The main corridors of the building are crowned with skylights and are bisected by an 81-foot-long spandrel beam, believed to be the longest of its kind in North America. To preserve the architectural integrity of the interior, electrical conduits and some mechanical chases were cast into the walls to hide the services, requiring tight coordination and detailed review on the part of the entire team. With features such as passive day lighting and in-slab geothermal heating, the Centre earned a LEED Silver rating, as well as a parcel of awards from the British Columbia Ready-Mixed Concrete Association. Incorporating such diverse activities as a gymnasium, a pre-school, and youth arts and crafts space, the Centre has increased accessibility for the neighborhood and established a site organization for the long-term redevelopment of the adjacent park.

Sunny Isles Beach Community School

  • A 211,000-square-foot educational facility (K-12) in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.
  • Submitted by: SBLM Architects P.C. of Miami, Fla.
  • Other TCA member involvement: Tiltcrete, LLC and TLC Engineering
  • Products for this project supplied by: Meadow Burke Products, Nox-Crete Products Group and Textured Coatings of America, Inc.

When designing the Sunny Isles Beach K-8 Community School, the site was a major restriction: While a school of this size (211,000 square feet) would normally be built on a 7- to 8-acre site, the designers had just 2.1 acres to work within. They came up with a vertical design solution, making Sunny Isles the only four-story tilt-up school in Miami-Dade County. While the design necessitated extremely large panels, the limited site meant that space for casting and erection was at a premium. To coordinate this, crews devised a detailed layout pattern and pouring and lifting sequence. In addition, the site presented poor soil quality, so the design team decided to place the building on auger cast pilings and grade beams. The first floor slab beams are supported by pilings, while the upper floors utilize a P.S.I. joist and composite slab. Even with these challenges, the design team was able to create a visually arresting structure with features such as intersecting concrete planes at the entry, a cantilevered exterior staircase and connecting second-floor concrete bridges. Bold yellow and blue highlights bring out key architectural features against a backdrop of light blue and gray. Some panels were cast in a horizontal rib form liner to add texture. Completed in just 26 months from design commission to opening for student education, the school came in within its $36-million budget, and provides students with 83 classrooms, a media center, a cafetorium and administrative areas, as well as specialty music, art and science labs.

State School V-1

  • A 147,854-square-foot educational facility (K-12) in Hialeah Gardens, Fla.
  • Submitted by: Woodland Construction Co. of Jupiter, Fla.
  • Other TCA member involvement: Permit Engineering Services
  • Products for this project supplied by: Meadow Burke Products, Nox-Crete Products Group and Textured Coatings of America, Inc.

The State School V-1, a prototype school in Hialeah Gardens, Fla., built to accommodate the needs of the growing Miami-Dade County Public School District, features a unique design concept—the structure is meant to look like a Lego set that was not completely put together. To achieve this vision, while adhering to a quick-turnaround construction schedule, the Miami-Dade School Board opted to execute the design via tilt-up rather than the more time-consuming alternative. The switch to tilt-up enabled all trades to work at the same time, resulting in a timeline of less than 12 months from ground-breaking to move-in. To make the schedule even more efficient, the panels for a two-story walkway were converted to tilt-up from cast-in-place using lid panels. The walkway panels have slopes that drain from the lid panels into a cast gutter. This gutter matches pipes cast into the vertical tilt-up panels so water can drain down the legs. Bright color hues of white, yellow, blue, red, and gray support the Lego concept and also lend a modern art deco look that complements the region’s famed architecture. All panels are 100 percent exposed concrete, so film-faced plywood was used to cast the 3-foot recesses for limited sacking and patching.

Hagen Ranch Road Library

  • A 34,000-square-foot library in West Delray Beach, Fla.
  • Submitted by: Johnson Structural Group, Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Products for this project supplied by: Textured Coatings of America, Inc.

The swelling town of West Delray Beach, Fla., had outgrown its existing library, so Palm Beach County sought to create a unique, affordable new building that would serve as a focal point for the community. The resulting design is an amalgam of geometric angles: The rear elevation of the building (which fronts the main access road) features 118 linear feet of panels leaning outward at a 30-degree angle, supported by tilt-panel-and-steel buttresses with a glass infill. The slanted Tilt-Up wall continues over a low roof also created with spandrel panels and supported by a complex steel frame system. This slanted panel is met with a tapered vertical side spandrel to complete a hexagonal-shaped roof area that provides an atrium-like space inside the library. The front elevation mimics the slanting panels of the roofline with a smaller cast-in-place walkway crowned by a 20-degree slanted Tilt-Up canopy. To add further geometric drama, reveal lines were given a minimalist treatment, and feature elements were painted a deep orange to contrast with the neutral colors of the rest of the building. Featuring state-of-the-art media technology, open reading rooms, community conference areas, and expanded media and paper library, the building has quickly become a favorite gathering place for the community of West Delray Beach.

In addition to the top five projects, 39 other projects were selected for 2008 Tilt-Up Achievement Awards.

TCA was founded in 1986 to improve the quality and acceptance of site cast tilt-up construction, a construction method in which concrete wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Tilt-up construction is one of the fastest growing industries, combining the advantages of reasonable cost with low maintenance, durability, speed of construction and minimal capital investment. For more information about the TCA, visit or contact TCA headquarters at 319-895-6911 or