Architectural Precast Concrete

Precast Aesthetics
Precast concrete is the perfect medium for architecture. Precast concrete is a high performance material that integrates easily with other systems and inherently provides the versatility, efficiency, and resiliency needed to meet the multi-hazard requirements and long-term demands of high performance structures.

Visual interest in the building’s façade can be enhanced with architectural devices such as ribs, bullnoses, reveals, chamfers or casting against various types of formliners. Precast may be designed with a combination of concave, convex and flat sectional shapes.

Taking advantage of precast’s initial plasticity can economically create these shapes, adding considerable aesthetic appeal to a project. Design flexibility is possible in both color and texture by varying aggregate and matrix colors, size of aggregates, finishing processes and depth of exposure.

Combining different finishes using the same or different concrete mixes within a single precast concrete unit can provide additional flexibility. A highly articulated pattern of color and texture develops a richness of architectural expression.

Design Flexibility
For the designer, the first and most significant advantage of architectural precast concrete is its tremendous flexibility. The material offers limitless potential for the development and manipulation of massing, form, color, texture and detail. The material can be used to execute design ideas in a broad range of architectural styles. 

Current fabrication techniques allow the designer to realize virtually any shape. Numerous finishing techniques, combined with a wide variety of aggregates and matrix coloring agents, give the designer an enormous palette of colors and textures with which to work. As a backing material for tile, masonry and stone veneers, precast also provides a cost-effective vehicle for realizing architectural visions using those materials.

The ability to manipulate color, texture and form make precast concrete an excellent material to consider in situations where the relationship of a building to its existing context is an important design consideration. Precast finishing techniques allow the designer to replicate the color and finish of existing stone, masonry or terra cotta. Precast mold-building techniques allow the designer to economically incorporate details such as cornices, quoins, arches and decorative relief panels, to create buildings incorporating classical architectural detailing, or to otherwise coordinate the design of a new building with adjacent structures.

For more information on designing and building with Architectural Precast Concrete or to schedule a Lunch and Learn Presentation, please contact John Dobbs, Executive Director, at or call 303-562-8685

John E. Dobbs, P.E., S.E.
Executive Director

PCI Mountain States Region
10500 Spring Green Dr., Unit 112
Englewood, CO  80112