UNT Dallas Ryan Tower recognized with PCI Design Award

Monday, February 26, 2024

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) has recognized the University of North Texas at Dallas’ landmark Ryan Tower with a 2024 PCI Design Award. The structure is one of just 19 projects nationwide to be selected for this honor.

Ryan TowerDedicated in 2022, the tower was funded with a generous gift from Amanda and G. Brint Ryan. Since then, it has become an icon of the university that represents the college’s commitment to higher learning. At 180 feet tall, it’s a focal point of campus life and can be seen from miles away, marking the university as a prominent symbol of the community it serves.

“Walking on campus and seeing Ryan Tower shows that UNT Dallas is growing and that the community is standing behind us on our way forward into the future,” said Jessica Armstead, former UNT Dallas Student Government Association President. “The light that shines from it makes students feel empowered to become a beacon, not only in their lives but in their homes and communities.”

Ryan Tower ribbon cuttingThe lighted tower includes a water feature, donor wall, masonry seat walls and a pedestrian plaza. It sits adjacent to the university’s new student center and marks the intersection of several notable structures on campus, including UNT Dallas’ amphitheater. It was designed to fit in seamlessly with the other buildings on campus and has become a tremendous source of pride for the entire UNT Dallas community.

The tower’s original design called for a structural steel frame with hand-set masonry, but such a complex approach would have extended the construction schedule and caused significant disruptions to the center of campus. Instead, the general contractor Post L Group of Fort Worth, Texas, partnered with Enterprise Precast Concrete of Corsicana, Texas, to develop an alternative solution. The team selected a precast concrete system that could provide the same design aesthetic, meet a shorter schedule and minimize the site impact.

Ryan Tower and Dallas skyline“To match the overall campus aesthetic, the brick and precast concrete features of the tower needed to visually relate to the surrounding architecture,” said Hunter Heinrich, AIA, business development manager at Enterprise Precast Concrete. “We designed a thin-brick application within precast concrete panels. This solution has a unique bond design with a projected brick every third brick on every fifth row.”

The precast concrete tower is self-supporting, which involves the use of three-dimensional finite element analysis to properly engineer the system to handle the wind and seismic conditions of the installation site. Following the engineering process, the precast concrete was manufactured in November 2021 and erected over just 15 days in December.

Ryan Tower at nightFor more than 60 years, the PCI Design Awards program has showcased and recognized creative and innovative uses of precast concrete. Panels of engineers, architects and precast concrete producers judge all submissions. There are award categories for buildings, transportation and special projects.

Ryan Tower has received the special All-Precast Concrete Solution Award. Honorees are judged on a number of requirements, including industry advancement, sustainable design and technology.

“This year again proved how exceptional precast concrete projects are, what the precast concrete industry has achieved and how it will continue to advance and enhance the built environment,” said PCI President and CEO Bob Risser, P.E. “The judges this year were incredibly impressed by the quality of each submission and the amount of care that went into creating a story for each project. Congratulations to all the project teams that showcase what our members are capable of producing.”

Winning projects were honored on Feb. 9 at the 2024 PCI Convention in Denver, and featured in PCI publications such as Ascent, PCI Journal, and ASPIRE magazines. Read more about the Ryan Tower project details.

From UNT Dallas News