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Tilt-Up Soars in Denver

By: Wendy Ward, Constructive Communication, Inc.

As more companies move their operations to Denver or open branch offices there, new facilities will need to be constructed. Additionally, the population growth will create a need for more educational facilities. Savvy Tilt-Up professionals in the region have seized this opportunity and actively promoted the method as
the solution for a variety of end-use structures, including offices, schools and warehouses.

This community’s growth made it an obvious choice for this year’s TCA Convention, which will be held at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center on Oct. 3 -8, 2006. In recent years, TCA has seen an increase in award submittals (and winners) from the Denver area. With 17 members located in this area, it is clear that Tilt-Up is taking this market by storm. This year, four projects from this market were selected for TCA Achievement Awards, and they represent some of the quality work being performed in Denver.


Providing a state-of-the-art distribution facility in a timely and economical manner was the main goal for the ProLogis Park 70 Building #2 project. The 283,666-square-foot facility’s prime location in Aurora, Colo., offers optimum highway accessibility, which required visual appeal. Tilt-Up was selected for its cost of construction, ability to provide an interior clear height of 32 feet and the reduced maintenance over the life of the building. The project was completed on a 185-day construction schedule, including all weather delays, which was exceptional given the size of the building and site work required.

To de-emphasize the typical box look associated with Tilt-Up construction, an innovative erection procedure was used for the panels to offer cornices and wing walls. The sandwich panel wing walls at the office entries required panels to be at an angle until the secondary panel was set, and then the panels could be brought together. The framing and erection of the cornice panels also required special effort because the cornice panel cross-section was a trapezoid and required special forming. Because of the weight of the cornice panels, the roof diaphragm had to be in place prior to setting the panels; however, part of the roof diaphragm was supported by the cornice panels. This necessitated that the entire erection of the roof diaphragm and the cornice panels be closely coordinated so that the bottom panels were not overloaded. Additional architectural features included extra reveals and the ProLogis signature logo on the facility. The project was awarded Colorado Construction magazine’s Silver Hard Hat Award in September 2005.


Located on a very small and awkward site that has a steep slope, the Park Ridge Medical Center is a three- story, 44,000-square-foot spec building in Lone Tree, Colo., that needed to accommodate a diverse range of tenants. Therefore, it was crucial that costs be saved on the core and shell construction in order for funds to be used for tenant finishes. Although the owners were unfamiliar with Tilt-Up, they selected the method for this project because of its cost-effectiveness, speed of construction, durability and ability to achieve the desired aesthetics.

Wanting the building to be different than other Tilt-Up projects, the architect chose a design that eliminated the typical vertical panel joints at the corners. This was achieved by mitering inside and outside corners and incorporating integral 90-degree return-corner panels. By using a 1- foot, 6-inch-thin leg at the three-story panels, large punch windows were incorporated into the design to capture Front Range views. The building uses the site-cast Tilt-Up walls to support a large porte-cochere. Tilt-Up also offers a very clean connection to the building for the roof assembly, and the opposite end is supported by large tapering Tilt-Up columns that typically would be precast or cast in place. Natural stone veneer inlays are recessed into the panels, which maximize the pedestrian-level visual appeal. Additional architectural features include simple reveals and a building up of color, a recessing of the panels above the third floor windows to create a shadow line and additional depth in the exterior façade, as well as an entry crown of steel that is supported by the Tilt-Up panels and would have been prohibitive with conventional construction methods. The columns on the exterior create the depth of a conventional steel frame building, which make the structure look less boxy.

All of these enhancements proved successful. The architectural control committee initially did not favor Tilt-Up construction, but they were so pleased with the results that they would like to see more Tilt-Up buildings in the office park. Tilt-Up allowed the owner to allot additional funds to the tenant finishes and have the facility 80 percent leased when the first caisson was drilled.


Tilt-Up was selected for the 73,716- square-foot G.A. Wright manufacturing/industrial facility in Denver because of its low maintenance properties, attractive look and cost- effectiveness. One of the project’s main challenges was meeting the requirements of three design review committees while designing a very cost-effective project. Architectural treatments include an extensive reveal pattern and 1.5-inch recesses at the corners, two different glazing colors and interlocking blocks of color. A dramatic entryway was created through the use of projecting, angled corner glazing. Features such as varying windows sizes, butt-glazed corner windows and steel detailing at corner entries add visual appeal to the facility. This unique project is a highly visible Tilt-Up facility with a distinctive fenestration pattern and paint scheme.


Located at the main entry to a business park right off a major freeway, the 360,000-square-foot Stapleton Business Center Building D-4 in Denver serves as the gateway to the park, which made curb appeal extremely important. The design uses four large curved walls at the corners. Each wall ends with a flying panel separated from the rest of the building by a glass wall. The curved wall is segmented for speed of panel forming. Double-sided panels give the back side a finished look with substantial thickness. The steel/aluminum entry canopy pierces the last segment of the curve, which required close coordination between the steel and concrete panel during design and erection. The building was erected in two phases to enable other trades to work while panel casting continued to ensure the fast- track schedule was met.

All four corner entries feature a segmented arched entry that uses eight 9-foot, 8-inch-wide panels with beveled edges that were placed on the radius segment. Each entry also has a double-faced freestanding panel bearing double-faced spandrel panels, as well as pilasters poured on the segmented panels. Rooftop screening was a major concern because of the project’s close location to the highway. Screening was accomplished by using taller parapet panels and pouring stand up return legs on several panels.

Each of these projects represents the best that Tilt-Up has to offer by demonstrating the method’s best attributes, including cost-effectiveness, low maintenance, speed of construction and aesthetic appeal. With so many Tilt-Up professionals willing to push the envelope, it is no wonder that so many award-winning projects hail from this region. Take the opportunity while you are in Denver to experience some of these projects as well as network with those responsible for their design, engineering and construction. We look forward to showing you the best Tilt-Up that Denver has to offer.

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.