“The precise detailing of precast concrete panels gives this project a sense of perfection, even with its large dimensions.”

Alejandro Fastag, Pretecsa


Best Government or Public Building

Centro de Gobierno Plaza Cívica, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico

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The new Centro de Gobierno Plaza Cívica in Monterrey, Mexico, is a soaring modern landmark in this burgeoning metropolis. The high-rise building is 591 ft (180 m) tall – the tallest structure in the city – with 42 stories that house 22 government agencies.

It’s a centerpiece in the community. However, designers didn’t want the massiveness of the structure to overwhelm the downtown, says Alejandro Fastag, CEO of Pretecsa, the precast concrete producer for the project. To lessen its bulk, the project team visually slimmed it down by combining vertical straight lines with a curved design.

“Despite its volume, the complicated geometry of the curved panels resulted in an artistic look, highlighting harmonic surfaces with precise lines in a visually homogeneous construction,” Fastag says.

This tower required 2,117 straight and curved precast concrete panels, ranging in sizes from 93 to 190 ft2 (8.6 to 18 m2). The panels were cast in regular concrete and glass fiber-reinforced concrete (GFRC) and feature white marble aggregates with a light acid-etch finish. The lower annex building, offering other public services as part of the same complex, includes another 815 precast elements of different geometries.

“Construction involved challenging architecture and precise execution, where the architectural precast facade proved to be the ideal solution to meet both requirements,” Fastag says. “The combination of concrete and GFRC elements in different levels saved significantly in the needed structure and foundation of the building in a highly seismic location without reducing the building’s security requirements.”

The use of precast concrete also accelerated installation and allowed for quick enclosure of the structure, which permitted inside work to be completed sooner and acted as a buffer against vandalism and environmental concerns.

Manufacturing the curved panel shapes, and managing the high winds that buffeted the top of the building were the two biggest challenges the project faced, Fastag says. Total building weight was controlled by combining regular concrete panels for the first 200 ft (61 m) and GFRC panels on the upper two thirds of the building.

A flexible form casting system reduced the number of forms needed to make the panels. “The cutting-edge forms required a few turns of nuts and bolts to adjust them to the next radius, but there was no need to rebuild new forms,” Fastag says. “Precast concrete technology and its precision were the key to defining the unique shapes needed.”




Owner: Gobierno del Estado de Nuevo León, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
Architect: Constructora Andrade Gutiérrez S.A. de C.V., Bosques de las Lomas, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Precaster and Precast Specialty Engineer: Pretecsa, Atizapán de Zaragoza, Estado de México
Engineer of Record: Consorcio en Innovación y Construcción S.A. de C.V. Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico
Contractor: Consorcio en Innovación y Construcción S.A. de C.V., Monterrey, Nuevo León Mexico
Project Size: 656,560 ft2 (61,000 m2)