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Marine Corps Exchange - Twentynine Palms


The new main exchange at MAGTFTC Twentynine Palms, California is a one story, 136,048 square foot "Big Box" retail facility constructed to replace an aging and inadequate base exchange and to meet the current and near term anticipated demand of this remote desert military facility. The exchange was constructed on the site of an existing ball field and between occupied base establishments, placing extreme limitations on space and constructability and requiring extensive coordination and sequencing of the fabrication and erection of the panels. An intricate scheduling process allowed Haskell and the entire construction team to complete the main exchange just twelve months after excavation began. The building's structural shell and architectural panels were cast in approximately eight weeks with an additional four and a half days to erect the panels.

This project was extremely challenging because of four diametrically opposed standards that both design and construction had to meet. The design had to meet the requirements of the MCX (Marine Corps Exchange) Design Guidelines while achieving compliance with the Base Exterior Architectural Plan (BEAP); conformance to the Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection requirements and opposing requirements of LEED Silver certification.

Tilt-Up walls act as shear walls to resist blast loads; therefore, there are no vulnerable, localized exterior load resisting elements that can be compromised by an explosion including the minimally glazed elements. This required additional enforcing and welded connections in the 7 and 12 inch tilt-up panels. Failure of one element is not readily transmitted to adjacent elements during blast events, thus meeting the Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection requirements. The facility was completed in just over twenty four months - from design to realization - almost eight weeks ahead of the original contracted schedule completion.


The structure includes several architectural effects, such as cast-in faux window recesses of varying depths; visual dimensional offsets created by split faced masonry piers; and a uniform panel height that creates a prominent look for the curved main entry panels. The two curved entry panels serve as focal points for the two retail components of the exchange, the main retail departments and the twenty-four/seven Marine Mart. The gentle curves of these panels emulate the military salute and establish respect and integrity at the front door. These panels were cast and lifted in one piece. The curved tilt-up entry feature now acts as the preferred design of MCCS Exchanges around the country. All Exposed tilt-up panels were finished with a Tex-Cote "Cool-Wall" finish system promoting a sustainable exterior wall finish system which increases the heat reflectivity and decreases cooling loads.

Though the big-box store benefited from fast-track Tilt-Up design, it wasn't lacking in architectural interest. Masonry veneer and linear and vertical reveals were used on the exteriors of the building. Aluminum sunshades, entry canopies and decorative pavers at the outdoor seating area further accentuate the upscale look of this base exchange.


The new exchange at Twentynine Palms will provide a modern facility to serve an expanding military population as well as meeting the important structural, seismic and force protection requirements.
Tilt-up construction provides all of this economically, and allows for an aggressive schedule so stores can be faster to market, something essential to the financial viability of the retailers.

Additional information

The selection of Tilt-up construction and LEED Silver Certification for this project will provide major financial benefits to the Base, the Marine Corps and the American Taxpayer. Integration of the "Cool-Wall" finish on the tilt-up panels and roof mounted photovoltaics will help assure the LEED Certification.

Main banner image for Marine Corps Exchange - Twentynine Palms

Project Location

Twentynine Palms, CA 92278
United States

Project Images


Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:
The Haskell Company
Nox-Crete Products Group

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Building Types:
Number of Floors:
Number of Panels:
54 panels
Tilt-Up Wall Area:
41,873 sq ft (3,890 sq m)
Total Floor Area:
136,048 sq ft (12,639 sq m)
Project Footprint:
137,236 sq ft (12,749 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
30 ft 9 in (9.37 m)
Widest Panel:
37 ft 9 in (11.51 m)
Largest Panel:
1,000 sq ft (92.9 sq m)
Heaviest Panel:
97,570 lbs (44,257 kg)
Recycled Content:
149 tons (US)