The Pavilion Parking Deck

June 22, 2021

This five-level precast concrete parking garage is part of a new, innovative health center at the University of Pennsylvania. The underground structure supports half of the seventeen-story, 1.5-million-square-feet steel patient center, which will house 500 private patient rooms, 47 operating rooms, and a 61-room emergency department.

The parking garage includes 689 parking spaces, two stair towers, a series of elevator shafts, two precast concrete cisterns, and provisions for fuel tanks, a network, locksmith, materials management, and IT. Precast concrete was chosen due to the speed of erection it offers; however, it took a multi-faceted project team to overcome the challenges encountered.

  • Owner: University of Pennsylvania
  • PCI-Certified Precast Concrete Producer: Shockey Precast, a Metromont Company
  • Precast Concrete Specialty Engineer: FDG
  • Architect & Engineer of Record: HDR
  • General Contractor: LF Driscoll/Balfour Beatty Joint Venture
  • PCI-Certified Erector: Jonasz Precast, Inc.

We’ll explore the versatility and durability of precast concrete, so you can better determine if it’s right for your next project. To learn more about precast for parking structures, watch the video below.

Structural Versatility

To prove that a precast concrete design could support the weight of the above-ground structure, the team used an in-depth study that demonstrated precast’s inherent strength and durability. The new garage was designed and detailed to meet applicable building code requirements as if cast-in-place, reinforced concrete was used instead. Designers used emulative detailing to achieve structural performance with precast concrete equivalent to a cast-in-place design. Precast offers the structural versatility needed to meet critical, high-performance measures while supporting the design team’s vision.

Accelerated Construction

The structure was divided into components of various sizes and shapes, allowing the producer to construct only the elements necessary at any time in the construction schedule. The American Concrete Institute (ACI) judges this method to apply to any structural system where monolithic structural concrete would also be appropriate.

Precast concrete allowed the producer to fabricate, transport, and erect structural elements just in time, significantly accelerating the construction timeline. Not only did this speed up the process, but it reduced the number of people and materials on-site, making for a safer and more efficient job site.

Strength & Durability

The above-grade patient tower is supported primarily on below-grade precast concrete framing. Many of the typical columns had to be designed for loads in excess of 6 million pounds to support the massive pavilion.

The pavilion’s lateral force-resisting system is primarily composed of steel-braced frames around the stair and elevator core. At the transition from above-grade steel framing to below-grade precast concrete framing, the steel-braced frames distribute loading to precast concrete shear walls beneath. Lateral loads from the pavilion are distributed below-grade floor diaphragms to the below-grade columns and perimeter walls.

This innovative use of precast concrete significantly accelerated the construction schedule and allowed work on the massive steel patient pavilion to begin sooner than would have been possible with cast-in-place concrete construction.

Learn More About Precast, Prestressed Concrete

Learn why precast was chosen for the Pavilion Parking Deck in the video above and share it with your industry peers and clients to convey the strength and durability of precast concrete.

Interested in learning more about precast and how the precasters of the PCI Mid-Atlantic Chapter support projects of all kinds? Explore the PCI Mid-Atlantic Solutions Center for helpful resources and get in touch with PCI-MA for precast information, higher education partnerships, and more.



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