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PCI Foundation Adds Studio at University of Washington

The PCI Foundation Architectural Studio at the University of Washington aims to educate students on the design, construction and use of precast concrete buildings, and explore new potential directions. The program has been arranged to use the diverse expertise of the faculty, and embrace input from industry  partners, while encouraging students to engage precast concrete in new and exciting ways. 

The program would be offered as a combination of graduate level studio and  summer research seminar – each offered once a year, for three consecutive years. A different studio instructor will teach the studio each in partnership with faculty member (Tyler Sprague, pictured at left). This arrangement enables a diverse range of design approaches to precast concrete across the years, yet maintains a consistent level of precast expertise and continuity throughout the program. The following summer seminar will take some of the most promising ideas initiated in the studio and develop them further – into a prototype phase.  This dual course format will enable the transition of ideas from the creative design environment into early research explorations. The studio and seminar would both emphasize how the beneficial qualities of precast concrete can improve the  architectural and structural performance of a building: a Performative Precast. 

The success of the program will rely on a network of partnerships, extending from the Department of Architecture at the UW, to the Department of Civil Engineering, and out to the industry partners (all provided below). Through presentations of ideas to students, review of studio and seminar work, tours of production plants, visits to built projects, and model/prototype construction, these entities would all contribute to the students education and help increase the  visibility of precast concrete on campus (and beyond). 

Design Studio 

The winter studio would engage students in an architectural problem that  explores the many forms of precast concrete in the realization of their architectural design.  Generally referred to as the  tectonic  studio within the curriculum, the class is restricted to second year graduate students within the accredited M. Arch program. Roughly 12X15 students will be tasked to utilize precast concrete in innovative and meaningful ways with an emphasis on detail development. 

Research Seminar 

The summer seminar would allow students to take promising ideas initiated in the design studio and develop them further.  Offered as an upper division elective, the seminar would be open to students across the entire university (including engineering, industrial design, construction management as well as architecture).

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