Tag Architectural Precast

Precast House: Dublin Bay, Ireland


precast house

Precast Specialties Corp. in Abington, Massachusetts has a long history of contributing to unique and stylish architectural projects. Precast concrete has long been the backbone of impressive designs – both domestic and worldwide. Although we don’t focus on residential projects, we at Precast can still appreciate a great work of architecture. One stunning example can be found in Howth, Ireland. There, overlooking the Dublin Bay, Irish practice FKL Architects constructed a residence, using precast materials exclusively, that was designed to be an extension of the land around it. The building, which is called, appropriately enough, Precast House, is comprised of three separate areas: the swimming pool, the house and the garage.

The site is long, sloping, falling towards cliffs and the sea. Entering the site, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the horizon, the viewer is pulled towards the abstracted line. The project is defined in conceptual terms as three discrete forms – garage, house and swimming pool – each emerging from the landscape, their respective heights being determined by the use of each form. The relationship between the three elements is a casual one, slipping past each other, sliding towards the sea. The three forms are detailed in the same manner and use the same material, polished precast concrete.

precast house 2

At first floor level (entry level) the plan is open with the primary living spaces and entrance having an overlapping relationship. Within the field of the first floor a number of walnut clad timber elements are slipped between floor and ceiling planes, defining the flow of the space and adding richness to the interior. At ground floor level (sleeping level) the situation is more introverted.

The figure ground relationship is the reverse of the first floor, the plan is treated as a solid mass that has been carved out to make a cruciform circulation space with the bathrooms and bedrooms retained inside the remaining form.
– From Dezeen Magazine – November 16, 2009

For more about FKL  Architects and their diverse portfolio, please visit their website.

Precast Specialties Corp. specializes in architectural concrete panels, concrete roadway products and exceptional custom precast products including seawall panels, boat ramps and large support piers. All of our custom products are cast in our factory utilizing 5,000 psi, super-plasticized, air-entrained concrete. We can produce virtually any color, finish or texture to meet your project needs. Find out what our clients and contractors have to say about our work, or see for yourself by contacting us for your next project at:

Precast Specialties Corp.
999 Adams Street
P.O. Box 86
Abington, MA 02351
Tel: (781)878-7220
Fax: (781)878-7464

Architecture Firm Spotlight: Sheskey Architects


Sheskey Architects is a full service architecture and interior design firm located in Quincy, MA. Sheskey provides fully coordinate design and construction services, customized to meet the needs of each individual client and each specific project.

From Pre-Design Services include site analysis and goal definition to Building Design with code research and coordination of consulting disciplines to Interior Design with materials selection and space planning, Precast respects the comprehensive, thorough dedication Sheskey gives to every project.

In 2006, Precast Specialties Corp. teamed up with Sheskey and engineering firm Veitas and Veitas Engineers to create the Kimball Woods apartment complex in Burlington. “Two ten-story steel framed structures were designed adjacent to a five-story precast parking garage. The project includes a total of 262 luxury apartments. Architectural precast was used as the exterior skin of the structure.” (Veitas and Veitas)

The use of precast concrete along with a number of other energy efficiency features made Kimball Woods one of the first Energy Star Homes rated rental properties in the region (Mullins).

We look forward to working with Sheskey Architects again in the future and applaud their work in architecture and interior design.


Participate in the Next Precast Lunch and Learn


AIA Rhode Island
Now featured on the AIA Rhode Island website, Precast Specialties Corp. will be sponsoring the next Lunch and Learn event, titled “Building Your Vision,” on December 14th at 12pm at the AIA Rhode Island chapter office located at 148 Washington Street in Providence.

This Lunch and Learn with focus on architectural precast in building including different types of architectural precast concrete, the benefits of choosing precast, composition and finishes, the benefits of early consultations and project schedule gains when selecting precast as your building material.

AIA members should RSVP to Lisa Myers at Precast Specialties Corp. 781 878-7220 ext 217 or lmyers@precastspecialtiescorp.com.

The Lunch and Learn program was developed by the Architectural Precast Association and participants earn 1 AIA CES LU (Learning Units toward continuing education credits).

The New Solar Products Group Marks Impressive Expansion for Precast Specialties Corp.


Solar Products Group with custom precast foundations and ballast assemblies for ground mount systems
With a continued focus on sustainable, eco-friendly practices and products, Precast Specialties Corp. is proud to announce the formation of our new Solar Products Group.

Formed to meet a growing need for the solar photovoltaic industry that is rapidly growing throughout the Northeast and beyond, the Solar Products Group manufactures custom precast foundations and ballast assemblies for ground mount systems in addition to standard and custom sized ballast blocks for roof mount applications. We’ve been producing precast components for many of the large solar projects in New England and can offer customers the experience and reliability to deliver price and schedule that is critical to the success of a project. Having architectural precast capability in our DNA allows us to fabricate any shape, color or features necessary to meet any aesthetic or structural requirement in addition to efficiently producing standard, repeatable product to meet any schedule.

Solar Products Group Easthampton Project

As the precast industry continues to evolve, along with a focus on solar, Precast Specialties Corp. has maintained a focus on high quality, low cost products including architectural precast panels, precast roadway products and custom precast products. Our Abington, MA-based facility is certified by both the Architectural Precast Association (APA) and National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA). Please contact Tim Breen at tbreen@precastspecialtiescorp.com for more information and additional pricing.

Featured Architecture Firm: Bertaux + Iwerks Architects


Blue Line Airport MBTA Station

For the past 30 years, Leonard Bertaux and Chris Iwerks of Bertaux + Iwerks Architects have designed and built prestigious buildings throughout the Boston area. The firm is “organized to advance design creativity within structured management” and “delivers strong design with dedicated service.” An award winning firm, Bertaux + Iwerks Architects has a long list of accolades including the Design Excellence Award from the Boston Society of Architects 2008 for the Bridgeport Intermodal Transportation Center.

The firm has a multitude of projects under their belt including the Blue Line Airport MBTA Station (photo shown above) as well as the US Postal Service Mail Facility in Brockton (shown below) and numerous other local commercial, transportation and civic buildings.
US Postal Service Mail Facility in Brockton
At Precast Specialities Corp., we wanted to take the time to recognize Bertaux + Iwerks Architects for their design strength, impressive architectural achievements and dedication to sustainability.

Precast: The Smart Building Material


Benefits of Precast Concrete
Aside from its sustainable benefits and contribution to LEED points for an overall project, there are numerous other practical reasons to select precast concrete for your building needs.

Low maintenance – Precast concrete is one of the most durable façade materials available. The panels’ resistance to staining (due to lack of moisture penetration), ease of joint inspection and extensive time allowed between required caulking (15 to 20 years) makes precast easy to maintain for decades.

Resistant to mold – As with the resistance to staining, precast’s lack of moisture penetration also means the concrete does not aid in the growth of mold spores. When designing with precast, Precast Specialties Corp. works closely with designers to create any additional water control systems to ensure rainwater is directed away from the building effectively to eliminate all residual moisture.

Ease of expansion – By using precast concrete systems, building expansion can be easily accomplished by either adding new adjoining spaces or merging a new space with the existing structure. If the existing space was created with panels, it may be possible to disconnect the non-loadbearing panels on the end of the wall and simply adding new panels and framing on each side to create a larger space. Furthermore, at Precast Specialties Corp., our range of finishes and surface textures means an unlimited array of options for the addition, easily able to reflect the original aesthetic look from the existing structure.

Financial savings - Precast concrete’s speed of construction can eliminate months from a construction schedule resulting in huge cost savings. By combining architectural and structural components into one product when possible, other project features can be minimized (ex. a smaller amount of footing may be required due to the thin cross-section of a precast concrete wall compared to a masonry design).

At Precast Specialties Corp., we partner with our customers to reduce their job costs and to help make their project run more smoothly. Simply put, we are committed to providing a superior quality architectural precast product and the highest level of customer service in the industry. Contact us today at 781-878-7220 to discuss what precast concrete can do for your next project.

Up Next at Precast Specialties Corp.


Fresh off our Barnstable Municipal Airport project, Precast is beginning fabrication for a new control tower for the Rhode Island Air National Guard 143rd Airlift Wing at Quonset State Airport in N. Kingstown, Rhode Island. Lead by General Contractor Cutter Enterprises and Architecture Firm Burns & McDonnell, Precast will team up again with Precast Erector American Steel & Precast Erectors on the project.

Featuring sixty-two buff-colored architectural precast concrete panels with a light sandblast finish, the 90 foot tall control tower will replace an aging structure built by the U.S. Navy. According to the R.I. Airport Corporation, “last year, 31,183 private and military aircraft flew to or from the two-runway airport, making it the busiest general aviation airport in the state” (Providence Business News).

Precast Specialties Corp. and Becker Structural Engineers Join Forces

Photo from Becker Structural Engineers, by Paul Warchol
Photo by Paul Warchol, Becker Structural Engineers Website

Precast Specialties Corp. President John D’Amelio talks with Becker Structural Engineers Vice President Todd M. Neal about the evolution of precast in the world of architecture and trends for the future.

John: Tell us a little bit about your firm, Becker Structural Engineers.
Todd: Becker Structural Engineers was founded in 1995. We have built a successful practice by providing practical, cost-effective and innovative solutions on a wide range of challenging projects. We serve a diverse clientele including architects, developers, industry, contractors, fabricators and government. Our project involvement includes a mix of new and existing buildings and parking structures. Our substantial experience with contemporary building design is complemented by an extensive background renovating and restoring historic structures.
We credit our success to the outstanding architect consultants, fabricators and contractors who collaborate with us and to our dedicated staff who maintain the highest standards and integrity, which are essential in structural engineering.

John: What would you say has been your firm’s most challenging project?
Todd: Every project has its own set of challenges from the renovation of a residence to the construction of a multi-story office building. Time is a constant challenge on all our projects. Technology and perception has really shortened the design process and the challenge is to put together a set of quality documents in three months for a project that several years ago would have taken a year.
One of the most challenging projects that our office has worked on was 84 Marginal Way in Portland, Maine. This project consisted of four levels of precast/prestressed concrete parking that supported six stories of structural steel office above. It was a challenging marriage of two building products that have quite different optimal spans. This project won the ACEC 2009 Honor Award for Engineering Excellence.

John: Tell us about your AIA New England 2009 Award winning project, House on the Ledge (pictured above).
Todd: The house was designed by the architecture firm of Elliott & Elliott Architecture of Blue Hill, Maine and re-defines how we think of a waterfront home on the coast of Maine. It is a steel and concrete frame structure that feels modern while it reaches out of the landscape. Use of high quality door and window components as well as glass bock walls create a home filled with light and lightness that provides clear, sweeping views. Structure was highly integrated into the design and becomes architecture. We are very proud of this project.

John: It has been a great partnership between Precast Specialties Corp. and Becker. For readers who aren’t aware of our work together, can you talk a little about services you have provided for us?
Todd: We provide engineering and detailing services to Precast Specialties Corp. (PSC) for architectural precast concrete projects. In the construction documents the architectural precast panels are typically specified as a performance based design which means that PSC is responsible for the engineering of the panels and connections. This delivery system allows the precaster to fabricate the panels with a process that is most beneficial to their individual plant and generally provides the most economical option.
We have been working with Precast Specialties Corp. since 2006 and have completed 24 projects together over the past 4 years. Each precaster is different and there is a steep learning curve to understand their fabrication process, preferred details, and drafting preferences in order to produce a submittal that meets their standards. We invest a lot of effort in the early projects with the hope that we can develop a long term relationship.

Does Becker do a lot of work with precast concrete and if so, what are some of your upcoming projects?
Todd: Approximately one quarter of our business comes from precast projects. The downturn in the economy certainly took its toll on the precast industry but we saw some positive indication of a recovery of the architectural precast industry since last fall and through the start of this year projects have been steady. Our precast work includes architectural and structural precast projects and we are optimistic that the structural side will start to recover this spring. We have been watching several new parking garage projects in the area.

John: What do you see as the emerging engineering and architecture trends for 2011?
Todd: From our perspective we see the continued growth of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to be the biggest challenge. Many firms have grasped the modeling portion of these programs and we feel the next step is to use the information portion to fully realize the potential of this system. We also see the request for these types of drawings files working down to the subcontractors and suppliers so that the general contractors can have complete models of the buildings.
Another important trend we see is the push for energy efficient buildings and “net zero” building. We feel this is going to have a significant impact on the design and construction community as we have to revise the way we think about facades. This may prove to be a significant adjustment to the precast industry as we have to develop new and innovative ways to connect precast facades with minimal impact on the building envelope.

Local Massachusetts Businesses Join Forces


Precast Specialties Corp. at Institute of Homeland Security

Pairing up again with architecture firm Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Inc. and erectors American Steel and Precast Erectors, Precast Specialties Corp. embarks on its next project, the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security at Northeastern University’s Burlington, MA campus. Alongside general contractor Gilbane Building Corp., Precast will supply thirty-nine white architectural precast panels with a light sand-blast finish for the building’s exterior.

Precast President John John D’Amelio explains, “At Precast Specialties Corp, we strongly believe in strengthening the economy through projects that benefit New England businesses. We appreciate the opportunity to work for Gilbane Building Corp. and are pleased that the precast for this distinguished project will be manufactured locally”.

The entire project is funded by a $12 million gift from alumni George J. Kostas, the largest financial gift in Northeastern’s history. “The new facility will be an important asset to existing programs at Northeastern, and it is also expected to bolster the university’s capacity to secure new federal investments and corporate partnerships in the future”. The multi-story building will be designed in accordance with Department of Defense standards and will give Northeastern the capacity and clearances to conduct secure research in a restricted environment. To learn more about the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, visit http://www.northeastern.edu/news/stories/2010/09/kostas.html.

A View From The Top

The Interview with John D’Amelio, President, Precast Specialties Corp.

What codes, standards and peripheral trends might be affecting the popularity of your product?

One trend that is growing in popularity, and acceptance, is the use of precast concrete in residential housing construction. Precast concrete basement walls are gaining popularity because they can be pre-insulated to increase energy efficiency in the home. These walls also provide a finished interior wall system. There’s also a lot being said about precast concrete floor slabs. They appear to be gaining more acceptance in residential construction.

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