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TCA Awards

2009 TCA Student Design Contest Overview

The Sustainable Coffee Shop

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Contest Announcement

TCA/PCA International Student Design Competition: The Sustainable Coffee Shop sponsored by the Tilt-Up Concrete Association and the Portland Cement Association. Students in the field of architecture, currently in a graduate or undergraduate program are invited to present conceptual designs for a new coffee shop in an urban market, specifically designed with emphasis on the practical sustainability using site cast concrete panels and components known as “Tilt‐Up” concrete.

The Sustainable Coffee Shop 2009 is an international, open, single-stage ideas competition.

Registration Deadline: August 28, 2009
Entry Deadline: September 14, 2009

Tilt-Up Education

Sponsoring curriculums are encouraged to contact the TCA to investigate the opportunity for a presentation by a local TCA member on the aspects of Tilt‐Up construction. This presentation has proven effective in quickly bringing students up to speed with the more intimate opportunities and current design vernacular of Tilt-Up construction.

Contact Jim Baty, TCA Technical Director (jbaty@tiltup.org or 319-895-6911) for more information scheduling one of these presentations if possible.

Note: In the event that an available TCA member is not available or near the curriculum for this presentation scheduling, the TCA will make available a free DVD and/or architectural presentation to the instructor for this purpose.


Tilt-Up concrete is one of the fastest growing construction techniques in the United States. One of the first new options for architects in over 100 years, it is a method by which building elements (typically, but not limited to walls and structural parts) are site cast and set into final position with a mobile crane.

Over the last decade the sophistication and aesthetic quality of Tilt-Up buildings has risen dramatically. The creativity of architects and contractors is resulting in the application of this method to a wealth of new uses, new forms and new building types.

Tilt-Up has a number of distinct advantages in construction. Among them:

  • Panels can be formed into any shape or finish – subject only to the imagination of the architectural designer
  • Panels can be large, more than 30-ft wide and several stories tall (some reaching nearly 100-ft), since it doesn’t require transportation by truck.  Size is limited only by the availability and capacity of cranes.
  • Concrete has inherent durability, important where strength of the building perimeter or envelope is important
  • Concrete has inherent fire resistance capabilities exceeding most other standard building materials
  • Concrete has thermal mass properties, important with today’s concerns for sustainability
  • Insulated Tilt-Up sandwich panels are incredibly energy efficient

To find out more about Tilt-Up and to look at what is currently being done, please visit the Tilt-Up Concrete Association’s (TCA) website at www.tilt-up.org.


An owner of several coffee shops in the city of Phoenix has developed a new business model, which he believes will respond to changing market conditions and become a new standard for coffee shops. He sees this new project as a potential prototype, which may be exported across the country.

The owner is passionate about sustainability. He has recently built a home that has many sustainable features such as solar collectors and retained rainwater. His home was constructed utilizing a construction technique of Tilt-Up Concrete with insulated panels, which helped him meet his goals for energy reduction. Not only has the owner been personally committed to sustainability, but has been active in promoting green design to local and state governments, including suggesting tax breaks for citizens who drive electric vehicles. He personally drives one such vehicle, and wants to promote their use, and sustainability in general, with his new coffee house concept.

Recently, the owner has acquired a corner piece of property that is 130’ by 180’ in dimension, located at the edge the downtown in a low/medium density area very close to the community college. He sees this property as an opportunity to test his concept of the “Sustainable Coffee House”. It would work as follows:

Patrons would arrive, and plug in electric cars at docking stations (6 initially). Connections for scooters and segways would also be provided under a canopy, if possible, depending upon the building design/layout. Parking for cars and spaces for bicycles should be included.

Upon entry, there would be a coffee house, similar to Starbucks, with a coffee bar and high quality desserts, snacks, and small pre‐packaged salads and sandwiches. The building would be wireless, with a couple of permanent computer stations provided, set up for quick access to websites promoting sustainability. A small “bookstore” of books and cd’s would carry all the latest on LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), green design, and sustainability. A small conference area for about 15 people, open to the restaurant seating, would be used for small meetings and webcasts concerning sustainable issues, would be catered by the coffee shop.

The owner sees the coffee shop as a place where people can learn about and discuss sustainability, while he profits from coffee, catering sales, and product sales (books, cd’s, etc) with a sustainability message.

Most importantly, he wants the coffee shop not only to be sustainable (LEED certified), but wants it constructed in Tilt‐Up Concrete, and designed in such a manner that the building promotes a sustainable message. The building will be used, itself, as an educational tool, where individuals, groups, and perhaps even a group of students can take a brief tour to learn about sustainability.

The owner has engaged you to develop this new Sustainable Coffee House, and wants the building to “EXPRESS SUSTAINABILITY” in the manner by which it is designed, and sees TILT‐UP CONCRETE as an integral part of that successful expression.

You have been awarded the contract, and need to prepare for your first owner meeting with a proposed solution.


Building - Freestanding

  • Seating for 30 patrons (tables of 2, 4 as well as other variable seating options)
  • Coffee bar – prep/food/service area, 3-4 employees
  • Conference area - table seating 15 people (open to seating area)
  • Large screen for webcasts
  • Two accessible restrooms (1 male, 1 female)
  • “Bookstore” area, approximately 300 sf
  • Covered Entrance
  • Covered outdoor seating area, for 20 people max (optional)


  • Parking, plug/in for 6 electric vehicles (1 accessible space).
    Can be covered, part of, or separate from, the building
  • Additional parking for 20 vehicles (1 accessible space)
    Bikes, scooters, segways & motorcycles

After an entry registration is received, the TCA will provide the entrant with an electronic information packet that consists of:

  • Descriptive information about Tilt-Up
  • Examples of the use of Tilt‐Up in a variety of program applications
  • Information for uploading submissions to the TCA Student FTP site or mailing electronic formats


40% - Creative/Aesthetic use of Tilt-Up concrete
30% - Tilt-Up concrete design - Contribution to sustainable solution
15% - Quality of overall concept, Design, Layout
15% - Overall Sustainable Solution


Entries to this competition must include and are limited to a CD- or DVD-ROM or uploaded to the TCA Student FTP site directory.  Digital entries will consist of only three pieces of information:

  • Design narrative – Explain both the process rationale and the design solution in a one-page description.
  • A 30-in x 30-in board (electronic format submitted as a PDF in 300dpi resolution) which graphically embodies your design solution.

Boards are recommended to contain the following:

  • Conceptual site plan
  • Unit floor plan
  • Elevations / sections / details
  • Sketches or 3-d views
  • Diagrams or other information which explain your solution
  • Title
  • Brief bullet point descriptions

Your entry information including:

  • Your Name
  • Your Contact Address
  • Your Contact Phone and Email
  • Your School
  • Your Faculty Member

The TCA will produce display boards from these electronic files prior to judging.


Note: competition schedule is subject to change—updates will be noted in bold as they are applied

August 28, 2009
Registration Deadline for Entries (Early registrations accepted)

September 4, 2009
Questions Deadline

September 7, 2009
Final Design Packets Emailed to all Entrants
(Early registrations by June 15 will receive packet on that day for those wanting to complete as a summer project.)

September 7, 2009
Question Responses Deadline

September 14, 2009
Submission Deadline

October 1, 2009
Announcement of Competition Winners at TCA Annual Convention – The Plantation, Amelia Island, Florida

Entrants to the 2009 TCA/PCA Student Design Competition are encouraged to also submit their project to the 2010 Concrete Thinking For A Sustainable World sponsored by the Portland Cement Association and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA).  Visit the competition website for more information at www.acsa-arch.org.


Sponsored by the Tilt-Up Concrete Association and Portland Cement Association.

  • First Prize - $ 2,750 (USD) *
  • Second Prize - $ 2,250 (USD) *
  • Third Prize - $ 1,750 (USD) *
  • Honorable Mentions (per Judging Panel discretion)

Prize package includes cash to students and sponsoring departments (if applicable) as well as one free registration ($750 value) to the 2009 TCA Convention (Oct. 3-6) and a $500 Travel Allowance.

Student Cash awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd equal $1,500, $1,000 and $500 respectively.

Prize winners, Honorable Mentions, and any additional projects deemed deserving of recognition by the jury will be published in an issue of Tilt-Up TODAY after the conclusion of the competition. Sponsoring departments will receive recognition for their promotion and involvement as well as a complimentary copy of the TCA resource library consisting of one The Architecture of Tilt-Up and one 1st edition of the Tilt-Up Construction Manual.


About the TCA

Founded in 1986, the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) strives to improve the quality and acceptance of site-cast Tilt-Up construction, a method in which concrete wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Tilt-Up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, combining the advantages of reasonable cost with low maintenance, durability, speed of construction and minimal capital investment. At least 10,000 buildings, enclosing more than 650 million square feet, are constructed each year using this construction method.

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