Perhaps the most unusual winner this year is a limestone monument-like sign that is the first impression of the Commerce Crossings business park in Louisville, Kentucky. This project shows the versatility of Tilt-Up.
The customer, Capstone Realty of Louisville, wanted an imposing sign to mark the entrance to Commerce Crossings, an upscale business park Capstone is developing. Tucker and Booker Architects of Louisville was commissioned to design a limestone monument that would set the first impression of the park.
The original sign design was a poured-in-place concrete tower structure clad with limestone. Capstone liked the concept, but as originally conceived the sign was going to go well over Capstone's $100,000 budget.
At this point AML, Inc., general and Tilt-Up contractors from Floyds Knobs, IN, suggested that the sign be built with Tilt-Up panels. AML was very familiar with Commerce Crossings because AML has built five Tilt-Up structures totalling 1.3 million sq. ft. in the park, with another 135,000 sq. ft. in two more buildings scheduled to be started last fall.
AML kept the same shape of the original limestone design except that the "lines" in the structure were changed. There were no limestone joints, just the vertical panel joints and some sawn joints on either face of the structure.
The sign stands 28' above grade on a 12'x10'x5' deep pedestal atop a 25'x25'x2' thick pad. The tallest of the five Tilt-Up panels which comprise the sign is 26' above the pedestal.
One of the difficulties of this project was not having a floor on which to cast the panels. Casting beds were built which were later removed.
Another problem was the curved face of the outer panels. This required that those panels be cast face up, not allowing the vertical reveals to be formed in place. This was solved by having a saw that could be raised or lowered along the straight rail that it was attached to, allowing for the reveals to be sawn in place and at a constant depth.
The biggest challenge, however, was attaching the panels to each other after they were erected. The three middle panels are basically an inverted "U." The center panel is attached with welded connections to two vertical I-beams embedded in the pedestal.
The next two panels, one on either side, were easily attached to the center panel with welded connections. The first outer panel was also set using welded connections, but the problem came with the attachment of the last outer panel. A way had to be found to make the final connection from the outside of the structure without the connection showing.
Because the bases of the outer panels are three feet wide, this would help give the last panel stability as the center of balance of that panel would cause it to "lean" into the rest of the structure. The panel then required only a welded connection at the top, away from the street level view.
This was a challenging but rewarding small Tilt-Up project. For example, it was interesting getting electricity to sconces on the side of the sign, but those light fixtures added to the classy appearance of the sign. In the end, the Commerce Crossings sign came in under budget at $95,000.
Pete Zanetti of Builders Metal Supply in Louisville served as engineer.
TILT-UP TODAY MAGAZINE / PROJECTS IN THE NEWS