Metal Covers The Curves

Metal and wood replace worn vinyl siding to create an award-winning façade renovation for a Wisconsin advertising firm.

Metal for the curves and wood for the flat areas gave this design firm’s headquarters a much-needed facelift.

DesignCraft needed a facelift for their vinyl-sided Madison, WI, headquarters. To accomplish the task, the advertising firm’s creative people collaborated with architect Todd Barnett, ALA and project manager Sarah Canon of Barnett Architecture LLC, also of Madison. They decided to use a combination of wood and metal from McElroy Metal, Bossier City, LA, and ended up with an exterior that was recognized with the Madison Mayor’s Design Award for Office and Façade Renovation.

“It was truly a collaborative process,” Barnett stated. “The client is a design firm, they help clients design advertising and develop brand strategy, so they understand the design process and colors. We wanted to find a way to highlight the curved part of the building. They selected some colors and we were very supportive. Metal was the obvious choice because of the aesthetics, its ability to meet the building code, and because of the low maintenance. In 25 years, I’ve yet to find a client that was interested in something high maintenance.”

The project overcame some initial hurdles when it was determined the facility was originally designated as a commercial/residential building. The façade grants offered by the city of Madison were strictly for commercial renovations. After some facility upgrades and a re-designation, the building was awarded a grant that covered 50% of the project costs.

Covering the curves

The design challenge was finding a material that would navigate the building’s curved sections. The solution was McElroy’s Wave Panel, a concealed-fastener wall panel that provided a monolithic and aesthetically pleasing appearance. Approximately 2,800 sq. ft. of paneling, with a PVDF coating in a Buckskin color, was installed in a vertical orientation on the curved portions of the façade. Wood was installed horizontally and vertical color panels used to provide a transition between the wood and metal. Wave Panel also was installed on the third-floor penthouse.

“The general contractor had installed solid plywood with rigid insulation over it on the entire exterior of the building,” said Kent Woller, general manager at installer Metal Design, Madison,. “We installed six-inch wide, 20-gauge galvanized strapping horizontally, 24 inches on-center, fastening through the insulation and into the plywood. The panels were 24-gauge metal, 16 inches wide, with a screw strip incorporated in the panel so we did not need to use clips. The panels were mounted to the strapping.”

Woller said the building curves are “soft enough” that, when coupled with the vertical orientation of the panels, the Metal Design crew was able to simply follow the contour of the building with minimal extra effort. “The curves of the building really didn’t add significant labor with the exception of a bit more for the fabrication and installation of the trims at the base and top of the curved areas because these areas required shorter segmented pieces.”


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