Over the last four years, students from the Rhode Island School of Design have had a unique opportunity to cast full scale precast panels and make remarkable connections with the local industry players. Although the formal studio program is finished, the school has planned to embed precast concrete design into other places in the curriculum and do a precast studio again in 2 years.
Students in the RISD program concentrated on making precast concrete elements and better understanding precast concrete design and construction. They worked closely with Rita Seradarian of the PCI Northeast chapter and Blakeslee Prestress and Coreslab.
“It’s been wonderful to see the student make full scale elements,” says Brett Schneider, Assistant Professor of Architecture, who led the studio. “That has been our goal from the very beginning to get the student to cast things full size. They aren’t just making drawings of things, they are making the things themselves.”
But beyond what happened in the classroom, the relationships nurtured through the Precast Studio have benefitted the students and professor alike. “We have made really good contacts - which has been valuable both in the education of our students but also connections for them knowing the industry. The same thing is true professionally for me. Coreslab in particular really crosses over with some of the professional engineering work that I do, which on a fairly regular cycle is precast. Leon (Grant) and his team there are some of the best when it comes to architectural precast.”