The tilt-up bracing plan for Wells Fargo's offices had to be coordinated with the second floor steel design so the framing could be placed without removing braces.
Credit: Morgan-Keller/Bryson Leidich
There's general acknowledgement on the benefits of using tilt-up construction. It's fast and economical, it produces a highly durable and energy-efficient structure, and it allows for design flexibility. But recently the designers and builders of tilt-up structures have been pushing the limits far enough to make owners and architects sit up and take notice that this construction method is no longer suited only to low-rise, big box structures.
Tilt-up construction results in a structure with reinforced concrete walls and few joints between the relatively large pieces. That means increased security as well as inherently good fire resistance. Having fewer joints means less of a problem with weather as well as reduced long-term maintenance needs.
As with all concrete structures, tilt-up buildings offer operating efficiencies due to their thermal mass and low air infiltration rates. They also increase the efficiency of foundation design because the structural loads are generally well distributed. Another plus lies in their natural noise abatement characteristics.
The front wall of the new Office Depot building has very large openings for glazing.
Credit: Eldon Tipping
Using tilt-up methods offers increased safety for construction crews, primarily because far less work has to be done by workers on scaffolding or ladders. It also simplifies and speeds up the construction process, often reducing the number of structural elements and dramatically reducing the amount of forming required.
Although skeptics still harbor a few misconceptions about tilt-up construction, the two large, recent projects featured here debunk the myth that tilt-up is dull and not compatible with architecturally sophisticated designs. And both are being done on the fast track.