Photos: Karen Weber, Fotos En Concreteo

“The precast concrete on this project was amazing. It offered a lot of attention to detail with stone projections and recesses.”

Dave Craddock


Best Mixed-Use Building

City Creek Center

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Designers needed to project a high-quality image for a new mixed-use project, one of the largest such redevelopment projects in the country, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 1 million ft2 (93,000 m2) complex features a blend of residences and upscale retailers such as Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Tiffany & Co. To achieve this, 5726 architectural precast concrete panels were used to clad the exterior, featuring highly detailed geometrics and pieces ranging in size from 0.42 to 179 ft2 (0.039 to 16.6 m2).

The facility projects a casual, pedestrian-friendly environment that gives shoppers and tenants a close-up view of the exterior. A manmade creek runs through the property, while a pedestrian sky bridge runs through its upper levels. The precast concrete exterior needed to match this level of detail and amenity, and it delivered.

“The precast concrete on this project was amazing,” says Dave Craddock, a member of the buildings awards jury. “It offered a lot of attention to detail with stone projections and recesses. It allowed the designers to have a very enriched palette of materials and textures. The overall appearance is one of cohesion and unity.”

The wide range of complex geometries required to clad the various details throughout the massive center meant that forms had to be adaptable. Complicating the process was the distance the components had to travel from the precaster’s plant in Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico, to the site in Salt Lake City, which required close tolerances and smooth logistics.

Adjustable molds were created to handle the variety of complex pieces. Considerable manual work was required to form each multisectional mold, which combined several smaller pieces to create the proper shape for each form. Several forms combined curved and straight portions, as well, so they could clad lamp bases, cornices, window frames, and balcony edges.

The sheer volume opened potential for delivery concerns over the long distance, but the operation ran smoothly. The 5726 pieces, nearly 5 million lb (2,300 tonnes) in all, were delivered in 179 truckloads, covering a distance of 370,520 mi. (596,000 km).

A key challenge was ensuring no damage to pieces during their trek while minimizing waste and packaging materials on-site. Dynamic crating and a bar-code tagging system permitted rapid loading, unloading, and permanent location identification at the site. Bringing finished manufactured panels onto the site made it considerably easier to maintain an organized and clean site.

The precast concrete panels also contributed to the LEED silver certification through their contributions to energy savings, waste management, recyclability, and other factors, but it was the detailed aesthetics that put this project over the top.

“We were really attracted to the complexity of the facade,” says Bob Powers, a member of the  buildings awards jury. “There is a lot of depth and shadow, a lot interaction of light and shadow. All of the precast components have a lot of three-dimensional characters.”

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Owner: City Creek Reserve Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah
Architect: Hobbs + Black Architects, Ann Arbor, Mich.,
Engineer: Magnussen Klemencic Associates, Seattle, Wash., and Jacobsen Construction, Salt Lake City, Utah
Contractor: Jacobsen Construction, Salt Lake City, Utah
Precaster: PRETECSA, Atizapán de Zaragoza, Estado de México, Mexico,
PSE: Reaveley Engineers + Associates, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT
Precast coordinator: HHI Corp., Farmington, Utah
Project size: 1,001,880 ft2 (93,080 m2)
Project cost: $1.5 billion