2019 was the inaugural year for Project Precast, a design competition that brought college and university students together with industry mentors in Louisville, Ky, the site of PCI’s annual Convention and Precast Show. The competition was for students to design a Kentucky-themed, 4-stall horse barn, using precast concrete. Sika sponsored the competition. The winning all-female team sponsored by Tindall Corporation lead by mentor Rob Smith consisted of architecture student Lori North from Clemson University, Kinga Pabjan, a master’s candidate in construction at Washington University in St. Louis and Fernanda Arce an engineering student from the University of Arizona. The students had no idea what their project was, nor had they ever met the industry mentors or other members of their teams before they arrived in Louisville. Other teams were sponsored by Metromont, Spancrete, Lombard Architectural, and CEG.
PCI Foundation gave the students less than two days to work together to design a 4-stall horse barn. Their research included learning about horse barns, spending time on the trade show floor meeting vendors and experts who could guide them toward products and systems that would lead them to a winning entry.
As a first-year event we had strict criteria on student participation, with a goal of 15 students from architecture, construction management and engineering disciplines. To our surprise we had more than twice as many applicants as we had slots to fill. Professors from universities across the country were encouraging their students to compete for the experience as well as the $1000 price. The 15 students chosen are examples of highly intelligent, competitive, team-oriented and enjoyable leaders of tomorrow. We already have ideas for what next year's challenge will look like given the caliber of student we attracted.
The jury reviewing the projects included Doug Noble, architecture professor at University of Southern California; Paul Ramsburg of Sika; and Harland Argo, AIA of Heritage Farms in Lexington, KY. “The projects represent truly amazing work for only having 30 hours,” the jury commented. "The teamwork shown by groups of students representing universities across the country and from a variety of majors was impressive. The jury was eventually able to achieve consensus but there were strong differences and our review work was continuing even as the awards ceremony was already underway. We wanted to recognize that each team put in 90 hours of effort, but jury had only a bit over an hour to examine five projects.”
About the winning project from Team Tindall, the jury said, "This was a very strong submission. Although the jury eventually reached consensus to select this project for the prize, it should be noted that the view was not unanimous and there was quite a bit of debate required. The jury appreciated the modified gambrel massing and the open space on the first level. There were concerns about the overall square feet perhaps exceeding the program, and the hayloft window apertures did not seem to be adequate for bailed hay. Nonetheless, the plan layout was clear and effective. The connection between interior and exterior through a large operable door was a powerful design move. Details about transportation and packing were strong. The visual appearance of happy horses in the renderings was compelling.”
Team CEG led by mentor Mike Malsom received an honorable mention. The team included Taili Zhuang, Washington University in St. Louis , Jairo Laverde, Washington University in St. Louis and Ismail Kuzucu, University of Arizona .
Other teams included: TEAM LOMBARD (Winners of Audience Choice Award) led by Joe Lombard Brendon Bangert, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Tanmay Vasishta, Colorado State University Emily Phinney, University of Minnesota at Duluth TEAM METROMONT led by Harry Gleich, Edward Alexander McAbee, Clemson University Mohammed Hassan, New Jersey Institute of Technology Alex Fiebiger, Minnesota State University TEAM SPANCRETE led by Clinton Kress included Alexis Raiford, Washington University in St. Louis Ali Shokrgozar, Idaho State University Rachel Madryga, Washington University in St. Louis
Plans are underway for a second competition during the 2020 PCI Convention in Dallas/Fort Worth.