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Precast Concrete Was Perfect for Liberty Island Project

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Some might not immediately think that a product associated with lower costs and more efficiency would be the best fit for an “iconic” project, but the Statue of Liberty Museum and Statue of Liberty Secondary Screening Facility are here to prove them wrong. According to the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), the concrete was perfect for the 50,000-square-foot-project, which rests in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

The building had to be able to host millions of visitors annually and endure storms and waves that hit the coast, but the product was right for the challenge. “Precast concrete could meet both of these goals, providing a durable and flexible material that could accommodate complex designs while delivering a sustainable, low-maintenance structure that will last for generations,” the institute explained.

Precast concrete also fit the project’s logistical needs. Since the building is on an island in New York Harbor, the construction materials had to be taken over when the tides were right. But a fresh concrete approach would have added delays to the project, since trucks could only make one trip per day, FXCollaborative Architects Senior Associate and Director of Sustainability Dan Piselli told PCL.

Precast concrete also allowed the project team to spend less time on site and speed up the installation. “Assembling a building enclosure from multiple materials on site would have taken a lot longer, with more field labor and more waste generated,” High Concrete Group Vice President of Sales Bob Pabst added.

According to PCI, some of the green benefits from precast included the mass of the concrete panels helping maintain the temperatures inside the building while special connection details minimized thermal bridging between the interior and exterior building components. “Sustainability was key to this design, and precast concrete was there to meet that need,” Piselli told the institute. 

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