Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Duke Parking Garage IX Receives LEED Certified Rating for Precast Free-Standing Garage

The LEED Certified rating for the Duke University Parking Garage IX in Durham, NC, is the first recognition of its kind for a free-standing garage. Other garages have been certified but all are attached to other buildings or part of a mixed-use environment. The garage opened in January 2009 and features more than 1,900 spaces.

The parking garage blends well with surrounding campus buildings while providing a sustainable green design. The mixture of Architectural Precast Spandrel panels at the upper levels and Terra Cotta material at the lower levels provides an attractive design solution. Gate Precast in Oxford, NC produced 95,000 square feet of exterior panels for this project.

The architectural precast components were manufactured in a controlled environment which offers reduced site disturbance and all-weather construction.

This marks the second LEED Certified project Gate has been involved in on Duke's campus. Since 2003, all new construction at Duke has been required to work toward LEED-related construction. The campus has received 19 LEED certified projects.

With seven LEED Accredited Professionals on staff, Gate has a true understanding of green building concepts and precast concrete's contribution to sustainable practices. Contact Gate to collaborate in the early design of your next project to determine how precast concrete can assist in the environmental requirements of your projects.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

LSU's New Basketball Practice Arena Uses Clean, Green Technology

LSU's newest sports facility features a stark white architectural precast finish with self-cleaning and pollution-reducing properties when exposed to sunlight.

With Louisiana's humid environment which is conducive to mildew which discolors building exteriors, Holden Architects, LLC,  selected TX Active Photocatalytic Cement as a potential solution to mildew challenges.

"With our rain and humidity, severe mildew will eventually attack building exteriors, particularly on the north side," explains Tom Holden of Holden Architects in Baton Rouge. "Discoloration can become a problem in a very short time, particularly if you have lighter surface tones."

The new basketball practice facility is part of LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center, built in 1971. The architect wanted the new facility design to be in harmony with the landmark center's primarily stark white dome. TX Active's self-cleaning properties offered the university a solution that allows them to maintain its expansive white surfaces while reducing maintenance costs.

Contact a Gate Precast Sales Representative in your area to see why architects are choosing  TX Active as a means of meeting a variety of objectives, not least of which is a focus on sustainability.

For more images go to LSU Basketball Practice Facility or email

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gate Precast, TN Presented SHARP Award Dec. 7

Gate Precast Company, a manufacturer of architectural precast concrete products in Ashland City, TN, has been admitted to Tennessee’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). SHARP recognizes employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development formally presented the award to Gate Precast at its plant on Dec. 7, 2010, positioning Gate as the largest SHARP Certified manufacturing facility in Tennessee.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

National WW II Museum Awarded Lousiana's 2010 Best Cultural Project Award

The National World War II Musuem, Phase IV in New Orleans was awarded South Central Construction's Louisiana 2010 Best Cultural Project Award.

The highly regarded National World War II Museum expansion is a combined design effort of Voorsanger Mathes, LLC Venture. The tough urban exterior includes a palette of large architectural precast panels produced by Gate Precast. Very little is square about this structure. The precast wall panels are at different angles leaning out and in.

Gate is proud to have been a part of this historic structure which honors millions of Americans who led us to victory in WWII.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Insulated Precast Concrete Wall Panels: a Viable Solution for Buildings Exposed to Blast Pressures

Can a precast concrete insulated wall panel provide the same level of protection as a solid precast wall panel when exposed to blast generated pressure loads?

With the increased scrutiny in energy savings as directed by new ASHRAE codes, architects are utilizing the inherent benefits of insulated precast concrete wall panels to provide true continuous insulation, moisture vapor control and an unmatched design aesthetic.  Until recently however, when faced with a project with a blast load requirement, architects and structural engineers had bypassed insulated precast concrete wall panels because little research had been done as to their capability to provide a level of protection after a blast event.  The data received from recent full scale testing of non-load bearing, prestressed, insulated concrete panels at the Air Force Research Lab, Tyndall AFB, proves that an insulated precast concrete panel is a viable solution for buildings exposed to blast pressures at moderate standoff distances.

Insulated precast concrete wall panels are typically constructed using an interior and exterior wythe of concrete, of equal thickness, separated by a layer of rigid insulation.  Thickness of the concrete wythe is determined by analyzing the loads on the panel which could be governed by stripping the panel from the forms or through wind exposure and/or seismic loading.  The result of this analysis yields a panel cross section that is relatively deeper than an equivalent solid panel with nearly the same mass, which is ideal to resist the dynamic pressures experienced during an explosion.

For the testing program conducted at the Air Force Research Lab, two insulated precast wall panels were constructed; a panel with solid zones connecting the wythes of concrete and a panel that used a carbon fiber reinforced polymer wythe connector.  A solid panel was also constructed and was used as a control sample.  All panels were of equal length and width and supported in the test apparatus at the top and bottom of the panel and were assumed to be simply supported.  The panels were exposed to five progressively higher explosive blasts.

The results of this testing program make it clear that the use of insulated precast concrete wall panels as a cladding system for buildings exposed to blast loads provide a level of protection equal to that of solid concrete panels of equal mass.  All panels experienced significant flexural cracking and permanent deflections through all blast intensities, though it’s important to note that no panel experienced catastrophic failure.

Although more testing and analysis should be considered, Architects and owners who want a thermally efficient wall cladding but have to consider a blast design metric should feel comfortable in specifying insulated precast concrete wall panels.

PCI Conducts Blast Research on Insulated Precast Concrete Wall Panels -

Blog By: Marshall Bassett, PE
Gate Precast Company

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Load-bearing Architectural Precast Concrete

It's Not Just for Parking Garages

Marshall Bassett, PE
Gate Precast Engineering & Sales

Did you know that architectural precast can be designed as a structural component and can become an integral part of the building structure? Utilizing architectural precast concrete allows the designer to take advantage of the unmatched design freedom that precast concrete affords.  And due to the inherent strength of the material, many designers are surprised to learn that we can incorporate the design freedom they desire into a key building component.

Load-bearing precast concrete wall panels, window units and spandrel panels work as the building structure to take the structural loads without the need for perimeter columns, and in many cases also act as shear walls, simplifying the lateral load analysis.

Load-bearing precast concrete can also be designed to take advantage of the exceptional thermal performance of insulated concrete sandwich panels.  By incorporating insulation and conduit in the precast wall system, many times the need for interior build out (steel studs, insulation and drywall) is eliminated. As with “sandwich” panel cladding the load-bearing precast exterior wythe is produced with an architectural precast mix and finish and the exposed interior wythe is steel troweled, which creates a smooth, durable finish ready for paint.  If designed correctly in the schematic design, this can create more leasable space.

Finally, using load-bearing architectural precast wall panels speeds construction considerably.  In the interest of economic design, panels should be made as large as practical.  By making large panels, the number of pieces is reduced which means fewer joints, erection costs are lower and the number of connections are reduced as well. This means the building can be occupied quicker and also eliminates several other trades that are needed for a complete package with other systems. Get involved with Gate early to see if these integrated solution design benefits can help you on your next project.

Contact GATE –

For more details, visit
NAS Aviation and Rescue Center
Woodlawn Elementary School

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PCI Unveils Two Innovative Products Beneficial to High Speed Rail Projects

US Transportation Department announced last week that 54 high-speed rail projects in 23 states will share $2.4 billion to continue the development of America’s first high-speed intercity passenger rail service.  $800 Million is dedicated to Florida’s Tampa to Orlando High-Speed Rail Corridor.

On the heels of this announcement, Florida’s Department of Transportation is hosting a HSR Industry and Developer Forum today, Nov. 9, at Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, FL. The forum provides an opportunity to showcase to business groups, economic development organizations and federal, state and local officials highlights on the project and the economic opportunities which could take place surrounding the stations.
Following today's FDOT’s Industry Forum, the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) will unveil two new, innovative products -- a precast/prestressed curved tub girder and a crash barrier wall system. These products are especially beneficial to high-speed rail projects, providing speed of construction, durability, and design flexibility while minimizing environmental impact. 

Florida is on tract to open America’s first HSR express service between Tampa and Orlando in 2015. Gate, a leader in prestressed/precast concrete manufacturing, is available to discuss any early design questions you might have regarding the innovative crash barrier wall system and curved tub girder. Feel free to email us at

For more information:

Interactive Maps of the Florida High Speed Rail: Tampa to Orlando

US Transportation Announces $2.4 Billion for High Speed Rail Projects
receives $800 million for the Tampa to Orlando High-Speed Rail Corridor

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Insulated Precast Wall Systems Rise in Popularity to Meet Higher Green Building Standards

It is clear that Sustainable Design and Construction of buildings is a growing priority in our country. GSA recently upgraded its requirement for LEED certification in all new federal building construction and substantial renovation projects to GOLD.

Many Municipalities and Universities are following suit with similar requirements and large corporations are also embracing LEED to reduce energy, and real estate costs while showing environmental responsibility.

Over the past five years, Gate Precast has seen an increase in the use of its High Performance Pre-Insulated Architectural Precast Wall Systems at Universities, Health-care Facilities and in Governmental structures. The market demand for this exterior system, which optimizes energy efficiency offering the thermal mass effect in both the exterior and interior wythes of concrete, will no doubt increase as more owners invest in higher green building standards.

There are several LEED-recognized strategies in this system including Recycling (cement reduction through supplementary cementitious materials), minimization of construction waste and the use of regional materials. In addition, the wythe of insulation means less concrete which reduces weight, lessens crane and shipping costs and reduces superstructure and foundation.

Precast Concrete Systems inherently offer unlimited color and texture options, quality controlled production offsite, speed of construction and blast design capabilities.

Check out these Case Studies at see why pre-insulated precast concrete wall systems are growing in popularity.

CUA Opus Hall, Washington, DC

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

Centralia High School, Illinois

NAS Aviation and Rescue Facility, Pensacola, FL

UK Patient Care Facility, Lexington, KY

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gate Precast Top-Ranked Among Concrete Specialties by ENR

Welcome to Gate Precast’s new blog!

Last week was another big week for Gate Precast. We’re always proud to be consistently recognized as one of the top subcontractors by Engineering News Record magazine – and this year is no exception!

In this year’s publication of ENR’s Top 600 Specialty Contractors, we were the top-ranked precaster among Concrete Specialties with our #6 slot. And, when compared in the categories overall, Gate Precast Systems ranked #85 out of 600!

We’d love to share why!

In the coming months, we’ll profile some of the projects that we’ve been privileged to build or help design. These will include education facilities, federal buildings, healthcare, stadiums/arenas, institutional structures, parking facilities, sustainable environments and more!

If you have any questions along the way, feel free to send them our way! We would love to help if we can.

Jim Lewis, LEED AP
Director of Architectural Systems

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gate Precast Launches Building Design Website -

This interactive website from  offers the design community the latest product information, blogs and multimedia trends.

Gate Precast Company, a leading manufacturer of precast/prestressed concrete systems, is proud to announce the launch of its new website --

"We are very excited about the new design and internal structure of our website,” said Dean Gwin, COO, President of Gate Precast Company.

“Gate Precast is renowned for its design-assist capabilities. The expanded features within our new website strengthen this collaboration providing technical resources to contractors, architects and owners 24/7.”

Gate Precast design professionals will share the latest innovations and expertise when building with sustainable precast concrete systems on

Enhancements to the Gate Precast website include:
  • Dynamic Project Slideshows
  • Reliable and Fast Search Capabilities
  • Design Assistance with downloadable Digital Resources
  • Surface Aesthetics Galleries
  • In-house BIM design
  • Innovative Precast Building Solutions Blog
The new Gate Precast website was developed by Darkstar Design (, a Nashville-based marketing, advertising and design studio. The website’s design allows Gate Precast to always keep new and useful information in front of the design community.

For additional information or to join our mailing list for updates and company news, please email Jane Martin at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

GATEstone: A Custom Architectural Expression

Jacksonville Main Library - Simulated stone precast finish
The design community has long desired a finish emulating the imperfections of natural stone within an architectural precast concrete wall system. GATEstone's variegated architectural expressions permits any color, form and texture imaginable. 

Gate's first project using this unique finish was on Robert A.M. Stern Architects' Main Library in Jacksonville, FL,  a major civic building that required a high quality finish.  The GATEstone finish approximates the surface of coquina stone; each rusticated panel has its own personality. This monumental building has inspired many owners and architects to choose this finish for their structures. It is not uncommon to see pedestrians reach out and touch the exterior to feel the finish.

Indiana Univ. Stadium - Split-faced limestone-like texture
On a stadium addition at Indiana University, the architect contextually connected to the limestone quarries of the surrounding area by using precast concrete formliners  to impart a split-faced limestone-like texture into the concrete to emulate giant blocks of quarry limestone. These formliners were created by taking impressions from actual blocks of limestone. After the completion of Indiana University's North Endzone Facility, the University set the GATEstone quality of the exterior of the stadium addition as the design reference for future projects. 

For more information or samples of the GATEstone finish, visit and search for GATEstone or email

Gatestone offers any color, form or texture imaginable
GATEStone: A cost effective, schedule effective and eco-friendly solution.