• Marshall Walters explains how forming technology develops new designs for precast concrete to a group of students from the New Jersey Institute of Technology as part of its Precast Studio.
    Marshall Walters explains how forming technology develops new designs for precast concrete to a group of students from the New Jersey Institute of Technology as part of its Precast Studio.
  • Staff at Universal Concrete extended NJIT student's knowledge of precast concrete by giving them an educational plant tour.
    Staff at Universal Concrete extended NJIT student's knowledge of precast concrete by giving them an educational plant tour.

A group of students and faculty from New Jersey Institute of Technology's College of Architecture and Design recently experienced some "Beyond the Classroom" events as part of the ongoing work of the PCI Foundation. The spring 2013 design studio focused on the application of high-performance precast concrete technologies to the design of prototypical “next-gen” construction solutions for communities affected by Hurricane Sandy in coastal New Jersey. In addition to presenting work as part of their academic program, students will also provide presentations on their work to communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The class is sponsored by the PCI Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Precast Association (MAPA) as an educational and research initiative focused on state-of-the-art innovative approaches to the integrated of precast concrete design, fabrication, and construction. NJIT is one of of six universities around the US that have developed a dedicated precast design course into its curriculum in either the school or architecture, engineering, and sometimes as an integrated program for both schools.

The first visit was to Architectural Polymers, Inc., in Palmerton, PA, a leader and innovator in the concrete form fabrication industry. This learning experience was organized by PCI program coordinator Assistant Professor Matt Burgermaster of NJIT as a resource for the students to learn about the company’s advanced production technologies and methods and their applications in innovative architectural design solutions. The group met with Architectural Polymers President and CEO, Marshall Walters, for a presentation and tour of his state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, where they saw examples of Computer-Numerically-Controlled (CNC) fabrication, elastomeric form-liner molds, thin-brick inlay systems, and custom photo-engraved image transfer technologies.

In addition to the tour of the Architectural Polymers plant, the studio will feature other partnerships with local industry partners such as Universal Concrete Products, in Stowe, PA, a PCI Certified manufacturer of architectural precast concrete products. In a presentation and tour of the facilities led by Don Evans and Bill Hydock of Universal Concrete, the students saw precast wall panels in various stages of production, and learned about the complex processes involved in translating design ideas into built reality, from panel customization and shop drawing production, to formwork fabrication, factory quality control measures, and shipping logistics.

The mission of the PCI Foundation is to foster educational and research initiatives focused on innovative approaches to the integrated and sustainable use of precast concrete design, fabrication, and construction. It is a charitable 501(c) 3 corporation which supports the inclusion of precast concrete programs at accredited college and universities. To learn more, visit the PCI Foundation website at PCI-Foundation.org.