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TCA Awards

2010 TCA Student Design Contest Overview

The Concrete Classroom

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Contest Announcement

Mt. Vernon, IA, USA: TCA International Student Design Competition: The Concrete Classroom sponsored by the Tilt-Up Concrete Association and the Tennessee Concrete Association.

Students in the field of architecture, currently in a graduate or undergraduate program are invited to present conceptual designs for a new education and training facility for a state concrete association, specifically designed with emphasis on the practical sustainability using site cast concrete panels and components known as “Tilt-Up” concrete.

The Concrete Classroom 2010 is an international, open, single-stage ideas competition.

Registration Deadline: September 15, 2010
Entry Deadline: November 1, 2010

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@tilt-up.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:

  1. Panels can be formed into any shape or finish – subject only to the imagination of the architectural designer
  2. 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.
  3. Concrete has inherent durability, important where strength of the building perimeter or envelope is important
  4. Concrete has inherent fire resistance capabilities exceeding most other standard building materials
  5. Concrete has thermal mass properties, important with today’s concerns for sustainability
  6. 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.


The Tennessee Concrete Association owns 1.88 acres of property (light industrial zoning) less than 2 miles from the heart of downtown Nashville. The association currently occupies a building on the property that has been adapted for office use but desires to build a state-of-the-art training center for use by members and potentially to rent to other groups needing training space. This is a real site and has some existing buildings and infrastructure (shown on the site plan) and the new building will need to respond appropriately to the site.

The primary purpose of the building will be as classroom and educational space, but will also serve as a meeting space for the Association’s Board of Directors as well as other types of meetings (committees, small receptions, seminar presentations, etc.) Easy conversion of the space from one function to another is essential, and the space should encourage collaborative exchange and learning. Views to the outside are encouraged, but control of light levels will be important to the functionality of the space while in ‘presentation’ mode.

The Association wants the Training Center to be a showcase of concrete and sustainable building practices, especially those utilizing Tilt-Up construction methods. Obtaining a LEED Platinum certification for the new center is the goal and LEED Gold is a minimum requirement for the project. Energy-efficiency is a key goal and the Association desires for the new building to be as close as possible to a ‘net-zero’ building in terms of both energy and water use in the operational phase. Innovative and unique solutions are encouraged, but must be balanced with ease of construction and affordability.

The Association desires the entire project to be a ‘learning lab’ that can help future projects of all kinds better implement effective sustainable building practices.  The space needs to serve as a living exhibit for the concrete construction techniques utilized in its construction as well as highlighting the features that were incorporated into the structure to earn LEED credits. Visitors and students alike should be exposed to these features as part of occupying the space, and consideration should be given to making building features as interactive as possible with the goal of producing a self-guided learning tour of the building in the finished product.  

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


Building - Freestanding (with interior connection to existing office)

  • Seating for a minimum of 30 students (tables of 2 with variable seating options)
  • Instructional area at front of classroom space for speakers, including large screen for presentations, white board space for instructors and students.  Provisions for webcasting to and from the facility.
  • Two accessible restrooms (1 male, 1 female)
  • Serving Kitchen / Break Area sufficient for handling and serving catered items or those prepared in the kitchen of the existing on-site office.  Provide counter space for displaying and serving food items; refrigerator; storage cabinets and coffee service:  Min. 300-400 sq.ft.
    • Note: This is a service station area only.  Food and beverages will be consumed in the education space or in the outdoor break area.
  • Storage sufficient for all tables and chairs when not in use.
  • Connection to existing office building
  • Separate “main” entrance to the Training Center
  • Outdoor space for breaks and “hands-on” class demonstrations:  Min. 1000 sq.ft.
  • South side of building has high visibility to Hamilton Avenue as well as limited solar interference.

Sustainable Systems

  • Integration of solar (both PV and hot water) is desirable, with an emphasis on affordability. 
  • Consider all renewable energy sources
  • Water use for potable, non-potable and landscaping should be minimized
  • Thermal mass of concrete wall system combined with appropriate insulation
  • Campus has two rainwater harvesting cisterns on property to capture run-off from existing roofs.  Eventual goal is to make the entire site a “zero-discharge” site for stormwater.  New building must work within this goal.


  • No parking is needed in the program as it is provided elsewhere on the campus
  • Location of property

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
  • Site plan and photos of original and current progress on the site.
  • Information for uploading submissions to the TCA Student FTP site or mailing electronic formats


40% - Creative/Aesthetic use of Tilt-Up concrete in the Design Solution         
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:

  1. Design narrative – Explain both the process rationale and the design solution in a one-page description.
  2. 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:
    1. Conceptual site plan
    2. Unit floor plan
    3. Elevations / sections / details
    4. Sketches or 3-d views
    5. Diagrams or other information which explain your solution
    6. Title
    7. Brief bullet point descriptions
  3. Your entry information including:
    1. Your Name
    2. Your Contact Address
    3. Your Contact Phone and Email
    4. Your School
    5. Your Faculty Member

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


In the past, this competition has been run for completion before the TCA Annual Convention in the fall.  The competition will not take place through the entire calendar year of 2010 with announcement in time for the World of Concrete 2011 taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 17-12, 2011. (please note: competition schedule is subject to change—updates will be noted in bold as they are applied)

September 15, 2010
Registration Deadline for Entries (Early registrations accepted)

September 30, 2010       
Questions Deadline

October 7, 2010               
Final Information Update emailed to all Entrants
(Confirmed registrations will receive information available at time of registration with additional information provided as it is developed or requested.)

October 14, 2010
Question Responses Deadline

November 1, 2010          
Submission Deadline

December 1, 2010           
Notice provided to all entrants of final results

January 20, 2011              
Announcement of Competition Winners at 2011 World of Concrete, TCA Annual Breakfast Meeting and Awards Banquet
Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada


Sponsored by the Tilt-Up Concrete Association and Tennessee Concrete Association.

First Prize: approx. $ 2,250 (USD) *

Second Prize: approx. $ 1,750 (USD) *

Third Prize: approx. $ 1,250 (USD) *

Honorable Mentions (per Judging Panel discretion)

* Prize package includes cash to students and reference materials to sponsoring departments (if applicable) as well as up to five free registrations ($500 value) to the 2010 TCA Annual Winter Meeting (January 20), free registration to the World of Concrete ($35 value ea.) 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.

Special Note:  This year, the Student Design Competition will provide the opportunity for the designer of one selected entry to work with the project architect of the Tennessee Concrete Association’s development to modify the design as necessary for construction.  The project will be constructed using technology, design, labor and expertise donated by members of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association to achieve this state-of-the-art training center.

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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