Hope Furrer Associates had the privilege to attend a breakfast hosted by contractor Clayco to witness the first wall panels of the 310 Innovation Boulevard project being lifted from their casting locations on the floor slab and set in place on the building’s foundations. 310 Innovation Boulevard is a 27,500 square foot, flexible-use building with space for research and laboratories, offices and light assembly areas located at Penn State University’s Innovation Park.
This project is the first in Centre County to utilize tilt-up construction. Tilt up concrete wall panels are cast by a specialty contractor on-site. At 310 Innovation Boulevard, wall panels were cast on the building’s floor slab. The slab was specially prepared with strict flatness requirements and treated with a release agent that keeps the panels from sticking to the floor slab. Once sufficient strength is achieved, each panel is then individually connected to crane rigging and lifted from the casting location. This process appears as though the panel is being tilted up, thus the name of the construction. While supported by the crane, each panel is then guided by a crew on the ground to where it will sit on the building foundation. The crew secures diagonal braces to the panel which keep it stable until the rest of the building is in place and connected to the panels.
Tilt-up construction is known as a very timely and cost-effective way of constructing buildings. In this case the panels were erected within a few days (as opposed to other types of wall systems which can take weeks). In addition to the wall panels being used for structural support around the perimeter of the building, architectural features such as thin brick can be cast into the face of the panels, thus obtaining a brick façade without the need and expense of a brick mason. Since the panels are cast horizontally, concrete form work is kept to a minimum and placing reinforcing is relatively easy with everything on the ground. Once the panels are cast and of strength, construction of the building shell typically moves very rapidly. To add to the benefits, tilt-up construction offers great durability, fire resistance, and low maintenance costs all thanks to the nature of having solid concrete exterior walls.
HFA is proud to bring tilt-up construction to Innovation Park with architect Forum Studio and contractor Clayco.