Guest Blog by Greg Winkler, Executive Director Mid-Atlantic Precast Association
Seven students and two faculty from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) studio program participated in the PCI Convention in Grapevine, Texas last October. The students were selected in the Spring semester as the best of the 35 NJIT architecture students who participated in two precast concrete design studios sponsored by the PCI Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Precast Association (MAPA). Led by faculty members Matt Burgermaster and Tom Ogorzalek, the participating students were: Stephen Staronka, Ed Perez , Gajun Lau, Travis New, Nicole Gabbard, Katherine Isidro, and Michael Nieves.
As part of their convention experience, MAPA arranged for the students to tour Ft. Worth and Dallas. In Ft. Worth, they visited the iconic Kimball Art Museum, designed by noted architect Louis Kahn. The long-planned addition to the Kimball, the Piano Pavilion (designed by Rianzo Piano), was nearing completion during the students’ visit and they managed to wrangle a personal tour from the project manager of the construction firm—becoming among the first members of the public to see facility before it opened. After touring the Ft. Worth Stockyards, the students visited Dallas, where they drove past the grassy knoll and visited the precast-clad Perot Museum.
While at the convention, the students and faculty also presented short summaries of their work at a public presentation organized by the PCI Foundation, staffed a booth with two posters representing the NJIT Studio’s design programs, and participated in a Studio dinner with precast producers hosted by MAPA. The students trip to the convention was sponsored by MAPA producers, with assistance from a PCIFoundation grant.