The Pennsylvania State University Millennium Science Complex was named Best High-Tech or Laboratory Structure by the PCI Design Awards program.
The Pennsylvania State University Millennium Science Complex was named Best High-Tech or Laboratory Structure by the PCI Design Awards program.

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) recognized Denver, Pa.-based High Concrete Group LLC in its 51st Annual PCI Design Awards. The precast company produced the architectural precast concrete walls that claimed the top prize in the high-tech or laboratory structures category.

A widely regarded industry program, the PCI Design Awards ( honors design excellence and construction quality in buildings and transportation structures that use precast concrete. This year, a panel of five independent judges representing the construction industry honored 21 buildings out of 104 qualified entries from throughout North America.

Best High-Tech or Laboratory Structure – The Pennsylvania State University Millennium Science Complex, University Park, Pa. The $190-million, 292,000-square-foot Millennium Science Complex is the new home of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences ( and Materials Research Institute (, two of the leading research enterprises in the world. Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, the building is one of a small handful of buildings specifically constructed to support the integration of the physical and life sciences.

Initially planned as two separate buildings, the design team combined the projects into a single L-shaped building early in the design process. “The building is both a gateway and a connection between the two sciences,” says Viñoly. The project consolidates engineering, chemistry, biology, physics, and other disciplines that had been housed in 40 locations around campus. High Concrete Group produced 345 architectural precast concrete pieces totaling 104,176 square feet for the project.

A signature detail of the L-shaped building is its massive cantilever which soars 154 feet over a plaza and garden at the intersection of the wings at the main entrance. An opening penetrates through the cantilever to allow direct sunlight to reach the plaza and garden. The cantilever signals the forward-looking convergence of the sciences, and imparts functional benefits to the activities of the occupants. Importantly, the cantilever allows isolation of the building structure from lower level scientific spaces where sensitive equipment is protected from vibration, noise, temperature, and humidity.

The structural engineer was Thornton Thomasetti, Inc.; the general contractor was The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

About High Concrete Group:

Headquartered in Denver, Pa., and employing more than 500 people, High Concrete Group has provided precast components for more than 5,000 projects since 1957, and is found on Engineering News Record’s list of the Top 600 Specialty Contractors. High Concrete Group operates precast concrete production facilities in Denver, Pa., and Springboro, Ohio. The company also operates High Concrete Accessories, a Denver, Pa.-based national precasting embedment supplier. Visit