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Custom Concrete Revives University of Michigan Campus
Tectura Designs' complex and sleek custom seat wall formations frame a new modern, mixed-use space


Nearly nine years ago, a competition at the University of Michigan invited teams of students to submit ideas for a complete overhaul of one of the university's most iconic, sacred open spaces, seeking to make it a more interactive destination for the community at large. Close to a decade later, the dramatic overhaul is complete, with Tectura Designs' custom precast concrete at the centerpiece of a space that allows students to study, socialize and connect in all new ways.

The heart of Michigan's North Campus, formerly little more than a well-known pass-through space, is now known as Eda U. Gerstacker Grove - a stunning transformation that's turned an underutilized quad into an inviting, multi-purpose activity hub.

Gone is the series of barren, intersecting gray footpaths. Students and faculty who once hurriedly walked to class now linger amidst four acres of green space and integrated seating comprising more than 700,000 pounds of custom concrete.

Led by the landscape design firm Stoss, "the Grove" overhaul includes elevated landforms that create a natural amphitheater, a convertible space that can function as a sand volleyball court in the summer or ice-skating rink in the winter, and more than 2,300 linear feet of Tectura Designs' custom precast concrete, with winding seat walls that frame the Grove and serve as both continuous bench space and abstract works of art.

Stoss tapped Tectura Designs for the company's 60-plus year heritage of creating complex concrete projects and an array of unique architectural products. Having worked on prominent projects from the Guggenheim to Times Square, Tectura brought not only a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, but also a unique ability to handle the sheer scope of the project. Tectura is known for its expansive custom concrete capabilities - from stunning streetscapes to cascading stairs to contoured curbing and much more.

Gerstacker Grove's $6.9M renovation required the creation of hundreds of unique concrete curb and steel bench molds with fluid, ever-changing contours that frame the walk, an ambitious undertaking that called for state-of-the-art custom concrete casting.

"We're fortunate to have decades of experience to draw on when approaching a big, complex project like Gerstacker Grove," says Justin Plunkett of Tectura Designs. "The bigger the scope, the more complex or custom the job, the more excited we get, especially when partnering with an aspirational team like Stoss, and we're thrilled to see the results of our collective imagination bringing the University of Michigan community together in new ways."

The new Gerstacker Grove space, fittingly located in between the Schools of Engineering, Art and Architecture, was officially completed in early September, and the transformation promises to provide a venue for some of the country's brightest young minds in the arts and sciences to create, perform and play for years to come.






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February 26, 2020, 9:23 am PDT

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