Iconic aesthetics. Energy efficiency. Superior life safety. That's the beauty of precast.

Posted on January 8, 2021 by Jenny Frost

In 2020, precast concrete has never looked better as a building envelope option thanks to innovations brought to the North American market by AltusGroup and its member partners.

AltusGroup is an international collaboration of advanced precast concrete companies dedicated to speeding up and perfecting the development of precast technologies that improve the built environment. AltusGroup members work together to bring advanced technology to market, then compete against one another for work.

Founded in 2003 under a “co-opetition” model, AltusGroup companies engineer, manufacture, validate, and market precast innovations such as the award-winning CarbonCast line of products, ultrathin and light
ARCIS precast prestressed panel technology for rainscreens, and Graphic Concrete technology for placing unique images and distinctive patterns on concrete faces.

AltusGroup’s advanced precast technologies deliver real performance benefits to architects and owners.

READ MORE>>>  This article was recently published in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of The Architect's Newsletter.


The versatility of concrete is its adaptability to a wide variety of purposes’; it is used as an architectural material for building envelopes and other applications, as well as a structural system for buildings, parking structures, and bridges. It easily integrates with other systems and provides a wide variety of benefits, including versatility in several key areas.



When it comes to building projects, the possibilities precast concrete systems can provide are nearly endless. Whether the project is an office, a school, a parking structure, mixed-use building, or a variety of other structures, precast concrete can be cast specifically for the project. It can be designed for code requirements, made to mimic historically significant neighborhoods, or even bring a new modern urban landscape to life. In addition, concrete is recyclable and adaptive. It can be designed for further development in the future, in the case of schools and office space, and is perfect for deconstructive reuse. Even if literal green concrete isn’t quite on trend for your new office building, precast assures that you’re green in every other way.



Architectural precast concrete wall panels provide one of the most versatile exterior architectural products available to the market, and the plasticity of precast concrete makes it adaptable to a wide variety of different forms, from orthogonal to radial. An infinite combination of colors and textures can be created using formliners, aggregates, pigmentation, and various finishing techniques such as acid etching and abrasive blasting. Designers can create intricate bullnose, reveals, and custom castings, and traditional veneer materials (brick, stone, tile) can also be embedded into precast panels, utilizing their natural beauty while gaining the many benefits of precast concrete.



In addition to providing aesthetic versatility and making for beautiful finished projects, precast concrete building systems can also be adapted to fit structural needs. Providing insulation, continuous air barriers, and vapor barriers all in one system. And, in some cases, precast concrete enclosure systems can even be used as part of the structural system, reducing redundancies, and even increasing usable floor space, especially in mixed-use buildings. It can be scaled in any direction; whether it needs to be a 20-story-high hotel or a storm shelter gymnasium.