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Awards | TCA Tilt-Up Achievement

Excel Academy Charter School K-8

2005 TCA Tilt-Up Achievement Award - Educational Division

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The efficiency of Tilt-Up allowed the building to flow better during construction, resulting in reduced cost and the effective addition of more area. The project began in the middle of January and needed to be open in late August. Tilt-Up allowed for the exterior to be up fast and enclosed so the contractor could focus on the finishes inside. The limited slab space required two separate pours for the panels.

The creative, angular image exhibited by the school’s architecture is reflective of Excel’s learning style in the classroom. The main walls separating the wings of the school were all exposed Tilt-Up, which significantly reduced the use of structural steel framing. Panels had a variety of shapes filled with formliners, most of which were recessed into the panels. Reveals were laid out at irregular angles, yet flow seamlessly from panel to panel. The darker colored paints used at the formliner areas create a visual depth to the already recessed panels. This, in contrast to the lighter field beige color, allows the panel’s articulation to stand out. Also, the architect did recesses within recesses making some panels look like they were separately formed panels welded together.

The most interesting aspect of the design was the trapezoidal shaped panels for the gymnasium. Another interesting attribute was the use of THERMOMASS insulation for the gym panels, which provided a durable surface capable of withstanding abuse during athletic events and a thermally efficient envelope.

Most of the exterior panels were very irregular in shape creating an assorted array of parapet elevations. There are numerous “layers” of panels with different parapet heights creating a very “busy” look. At outside corners, the architect designed the intersection of the panels at angles less than 90 degrees and then forced the top of the panels to slope toward the corner. This posed a challenge when forming the two panels that would marry to create this corner. The geometry needed to be exact through checking degrees of angles and panel heights before placing the concrete.

Project Specifics

Project Floor Area
44,000 sq ft
(4,088 sq m)
Tallest Panel
33 ft 0 in
(10.06 m)
Largest Panel
500 sq ft
(46.5 sq m)
Heaviest Panel
80,000 lbs
(36,287 kg)

Participating TCA Members

Saunders Construction Inc
General contractor, Tilt-Up contractor
ThermomassSustaining Member icon
Insulation system
Nox-Crete Products GroupSustaining Member icon
Bond breaker
Meadow BurkeSustaining Member icon
Lifting hardware, Braces

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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