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Awards | TCA Tilt-Up Achievement

Gateway Theatre of Shopping

2003 TCA Tilt-Up Achievement Award - Retail Division

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Constructed in 2.5 years, the shopping center was selected as Best in Class winner in the Retail category, but the list of accolades also includes largest Tilt-Up facility at 3,420,000-square-feet, as well as the distinction of being one of the first large scale Tilt-Up malls.

Although the owner was not familiar with the Tilt-Up method prior to the project, the promise of quality, speed, flexiblity and economy made the construction method the ideal solution in the creation of a cutting-edge shopping center. Tilt-Up allowed the design and construction team to achieve architectural relief features simply, economically and with an accuracy and quality not available with any other construction method. Used only as a cladding material and not as a structural element, Tilt-Up still offered a more economical and durable solution than competing building methods.

Any schedule savings recognized are significant with a project this size. The speed of erection inherent with the Tilt-Up method allowed the team to weatherproof the building six months ahead of schedule, thus allowing additional time for the complex finishes required on internal mall areas. Beyond shear size, a fast-track schedule and economy, the mall boasts great architectural appeal. With a beige/cream base color, a darker beige was used in the recessed panel areas and bright ceramic tile inlays were used to create highlights on the façade.

Precast simulated stone cladding elements were fixed to the bottom of the panels to add architectural interest to the façade and a repeated Centre logo was cast and tilted with the panels for branding identity.The use of recessed 900mm wide "columns" that stepped out to 1522mm wide near the top of the panels accommodated a brightly tiled inlay. Instead of straight vertical joints, panel edges were stepped to tie-in with these recessed "columns" – hiding panel joints in most cases with a shadow line. The architect used special corner panels constructed to close-off external corners and prevent sight of panel edges because of to the massive scale of the building.

The architect introduced a pattern of 150mm diameter circles with 22mm deep recesses to create a dimpled effect on one of the two large radius curved walls. This was done to break from the standard aesthetic of the project and create a focal point from one of the curved walls. Approximately 170 recesses per panel were constructed using a template to exactly position the circular design elements that were then secured with a single screw.

The design and construction team met their share of challenges. For example, the size and shape of the panels, combined with their relative thinness of 175mm and horizontal recesses 30mm in depth, resulted in horizontal shrinkage cracks at certain places prior to panel erection. At these locations, a 1200mm wide additional layer of reinforcing was introduced to ensure a safe lift. Because the basement parking area created a suspended slab for the ground floor, crane access was, for the most part, restricted to outside the building envelope resulting in lifts called ”blind picks” which are lifts where the crane operator cannot maintain visual contact with the lifting inserts.

Selecting the Tilt-Up method as a time and money-saving measure late in the design process also presented a few challenges in the field. Since the design allowed for brickwork to run past the edge of the ground floor slab, there was no support for the panels at this location. Large steel brackets were designed and bolted onto the edge of the slab on which the panel was temporarily supported. After connecting the panel by means of in-situ beams to each of the floor slabs, the temporary brackets were removed and the panels in effect hung on the outside of the building like large precast cladding elements.

Project Specifics

Tallest Panel
64 ft 11 in
(19.79 m)
Largest Panel
1,109 sq ft
(103.0 sq m)
Heaviest Panel
88,500 lbs
(40,143 kg)

Participating TCA Members

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Lifting hardware

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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