CHICAGO - The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) is now accepting entries for its 2012 Design Awards competition. This long-standing annual awards program, now celebrating its golden anniversary, recognizes design excellence, innovation, and construction quality using precast concrete. The deadline to submit a project for consideration is May 21, 2012.

All winning projects will be showcased at the 2012 PCI Convention and National Bridge COnfernce and will be included in a summary feature article that appears in the PCI Journal, Aspire, and Ascent magazines. Combined, these publications reach more than 65,000 industry stakeholders.

“Each year, I look forward to and learn from the PCI Design awards,” said Robert Powers, AIA, LEED AP, architect at HOK. “There are always innovations to explore, and not just with precast, but with the architecture and design projects themselves.”

Throughout its 50-year history, the PCI Design Awards program has helped the design and construction community innovate and advance by showcasing ideas that push the envelope, overcome challenges, and improve upon existing concepts.

“There is a lot you can do with precast, probably more than most people realize,” said PCI President James G. Toscas, P.E. “The Design Awards help to share this information, cultivate ideas, and expand concepts that will lead to tomorrow's advancements, in both the precast industry and the overall construction industry.”

Entries are accepted in two primary categories: buildings and transportation structures. Within each primary category there are several subcategories. Building examples include commercial and entertainment, institutional, housing and residential, industrial and warehouse, and custom solutions. Transportation examples include bridges (new, rehabilitated, and non-highway) and special transportation solutions. In addition to these best-in-class awards, special awards will be given for industry advancement, sustainable design, and best all-precast concrete structure or solution.

Independent juries of industry experts will consider creativity and ingenuity in the use of precast concrete to achieve aesthetic expression, function, economy, and sustainability; and will recognize excellence in design, engineering, manufacturing, and erecting. Separate juries will evaluate buildings, transportation, and special categories.

Any structure in the United States, Canada, or Mexico that has been completed within the last three years and is substantially constructed using precast concrete manufactured in a PCI-Certified or CPCI-Certified plant is eligible. Entries are made electronically and should be submitted by the architect or engineer of record. Winners will be announced in July 2012. There is no entry fee.

For complete information including submission guidelines, visit www.pcidesignawards.org/2012intro/. For additional questions, contact Brian Miller at bmiller@pci.org or Jennifer Peters at jpeters@pci.org.

View the 2011 Design Award-winning projects at www.pcidesignawards.org/2011/.