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Meet Mitch Bloomquist

In the last issue of Tilt-Up Today we introduced Mitch Bloomquist, our new TCA Project Manager. Following is an interview with Mitch that will help you get to know him.

1) What has surprised you the most about the Tilt-Up industry?

In the short time that I have been here I have been overseeing our Annual Achievement Awards, Student Design Competition, and our new publication The Architecture of Tilt-Up. The diversity of projects has been a real surprise to me. While my impression of Tilt-Up before joining the organization was not stereotypical, the range f incredible projects that are being built across the globe immediately inspired me.

2) What opportunities do you see for the industry?

The future for our industry is incredibly bright. I see two huge opportunities for the industry; one being the expansion into new markets, the second being further expansion into new building types within existing markets. Either way, the industry has a real opportunity to grow.

I believe that the industry’s relevance will continue to increase and receive more attention in the coming years as Tilt-Up is uniquely positioned to comfortably and successfully addresses today’s clients’ demands as they relate to energy efficiency, cost, schedule, and durability.

3) What are members most energized about?

I think that members are excited about the future, getting over this hump and moving forward. There has been so much negative energy, in general, regarding business, the economy, etc. While times remain tough in some areas, it seems like for the most part, our members are not burdened with the goal of getting back to where they were, they are motivated to move forward from where they are.

4) What have you learned in your conversations with members?

I had the privilege of meeting quite a few members at this year’s convention in Irvine, Calif. I enjoyed very much talking with members about their work and their ideas and got the impression that they had a lot to give. The ideas and resources our members shared with me were as diverse as the projects that this industry produces.

The experience brought to my attention the importance of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association and the role it plays in bringing these ideas and resources together; the ability of the association to invest in an idea and share it with the industry as a whole, the value in physically coming together, and the importance of camaraderie. I learned that we are in it together, and we are better together. We have a network of extremely talented individuals and the more that we work together as an industry, to share, encourage, and challenge each other, the greater our future will be. The old adage is true; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

5) What do you see as some architectural opportunities for Tilt-Up?

The opportunities for great Tilt-Up architecture truly are endless. I think some of the myths and misunderstandings about the method are starting to be cleared up and it is beginning to be considered, on an increasingly regular basis, for projects other than the industrial or “big box.”

Tilt-Up offers architects extreme design flexibility. This makes Tilt-Up a relevant choice for almost any project and a suitable method of construction in almost any part of the world.

The greatest potential, however, lies in exploiting what is intrinsically Tilt-Up, the fundamental benefits of the method. To me, these benefits lie in the freedom Tilt-Up affords form and texture.

Steven Holl’s Chapel of St Ignatius which is featured in the new edition of The Architecture of Tilt- Up, is an amazing example of Tilt-Up being Tilt-Up. The playful way in which the panels interact, creating openings, interlocking, and giving scale to the façade, coupled with the quirky way in which the panels reach up to form curved light wells, serve as a master-class in the unique qualities that Tilt-Up can bring to a work of architecture.

Additionally, I see extraordinary opportunities for further exploration of texture. Our member companies continue to develop pioneering form-liners, embedded products, and admixtures that have the ability to completely transform the simple concrete surface (which, in my opinion, is most certainly beautiful on its own). In addition to the continued creativity in the manufacturing of these products, there are opportunities for designers themselves to affect the surface of the panels. Perhaps the most dramatic example of this would be the surface of Bishop Gadsden Church in Charleston, S.C., shown above, (also featured in the new edition of The Architecture of Tilt- Up) where the congregation participated in the hand stacking of oyster shells in a bed of sand that was then cast into a textured layer of white cement and structural layer of concrete. The result is a completely unique work of architecture that utilizes local materials and incorporates the hand of the community for which the building is to serve.

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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.