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Introducing Project Precast

PCI Foundation’s and Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute’s Project Precast debuted this year at the groups’ annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and by all accounts it was a smashing success. The design competition, hailed as “a cross between Shark Tank and Project Runway,” saw teams compete for a $3000 cash prize. Geared to students and graduates from higher education programs across the U.S., the Project asked competitors to offer design solutions utilizing precast concrete. There was also an audience’s choice award, so teams were competing for industry cred, too.

PCI and the Institutes’ collaboration highlighted the many applications of precast concrete, but it also underscored how the precast community comes together to mentor its young talent. Competitors got an assist from established precasters during the challenge, which lasted for two days. Teams roamed the show floor, discovering the products and accessories necessary to their make their solutions work. They were able to consult with the experts even as they called upon their own training to build their solutions. The teams themselves were full of diverse talent, made up of one architecture, one engineering, and one construction expert and guided by a PCI Precast Producer Mentor.¬†¬†Teams were given time to strategize before doing recon on the floor, ultimately coming up with a plan and presenting it to their mentor before creating their final boards.

So what was the design challenge? To design a 4-stall horse barn made entirely of precast concrete. In the end, all-female team Lori North, Kinga Pabjan, and Fernanda Arce took the Loving Cup trophy, along with bragging rights for at least another year.