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Leveraging the Strength of Tilt-Up to Achieve Playful Architecture

February 4 to January 1, 2025 Central Standard Time

Sean Chen, AIA

Tilt-up concrete construction has unique properties that can be integrated into architectural design. This presentation will discuss techniques and methods used to achieve sustainable, functional and playful design at UCSD Spanos Athletic Performance Center.


  • Keep it light – using surface pattern and light weight roof to produce visual impact without increasing panel thickness.
  • Make it open – addressing functional and energy requirements by keeping exposed concrete on the interior.
  • Work with the weather – leveraging passive design elements to enhance branding.
  • Reduce upkeep – challenges and lessons learned on keeping the exterior concrete surfaces exposed.

UCSD Spanos Athletic Performance Center by ARCHITECTS hanna Gabriel wells.
Photo by Darren Bradley.

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