Metal Architecture
Wednesday | 22 September, 2021 | 11:48 am

Flexible façades

Written by By Corinna Petry

Above: Kingspan’s Designwall 4000 panels with QuadCore technology provide superior thermal performance: With R-values to 8 per inch, they are the preferred choice for large-scale buildings like stadiums.

Insulated metal panels prove to be three solutions in one product, saving builders time, complications and cash

September 2021 - Versatility and ease of use are two of the highest attributes found in metals, so metals are often chosen for both the structural components and outer finishes of high-profile building projects.

Florida-based Kingspan Insulated Panels North America has developed a line of products that has gained favor with award-winning architects in the United States and Canada. Some recent projects for which Kingspan has supplied solutions include a professional soccer stadium and team training facility; a manufacturing facility for a maker of explosives used in oilfield applications; a multifunctional civic center; and a clean, bright and weatherproof East Coast boathouse.

Bend it like Beckham

The new Inter Miami CF Stadium (above) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is temporarily home to Miami’s professional soccer club, Inter Miami CF, which is co-owned by soccer star David Beckham and Jose and Jorge Mas, who run a $7 billion infrastructure engineering and construction company based in Coral Gables, Florida.

Also known as the DRV PNK (drive pink) stadium, as named by sponsor AutoNation, both it and the attached training facility feature 40,000 square feet of Kingspan’s Benchmark Designwall 4000 panels with QuadCore technology. Designwall insulated metal panels were custom coated with black and pink, representing the Inter Miami CF team logo.

This project also had a very tight timeline so that the team could host a professional match in early 2020. With a deadline of under 10 months, Kingspan panels allowed quick installation by KHS&S Contractors Inc., Tampa, Florida.

Beckham and his partners had worked with Florida city and county commissioners and planning authorities for almost six years before gaining approval for the stadium. Although the team plans to move to a bigger facility in a couple years close to Miami International Airport, the Fort Lauderdale stadium will continue to serve as the team’s training field, as well as a venue for local sports and recreation activities.

Kingspan’s Designwall 4000 panels with QuadCore technology provide superior thermal performance: With R-values up to 8 per inch, they are the preferred choice for large-scale buildings like stadiums, arenas and amphitheaters.

Tight timeline

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Instead of scheduling separate trades to install the façade, insulation and interior walls, project managers reduced that number to one installer.

DynaEnergetics, based in Troisdorf, Germany, sought to build a manufacturing and assembly plant. Set in the tiny town of Blum, Texas, between Fort Worth and Waco, the 74,000-square-foot facility is clad with insulated metal panels using different textures and orientations.

The challenge for the builders, building products suppliers and erectors was a six-month deadline to complete the entire structure, because the machinery was on its way from overseas. And there was only one rough sketch that architects had to transform into a multipurpose facility.

Arch11, Boulder, Colorado, was contracted to work that project. “We were driven by a dead-set date—when they were setting machinery in place,” recalls E.J. Meade, lead architect on the project. “One of the reasons the Kingspan system immediately came to mind is we wanted flexibility in the materials on the exterior, but also to have a pretty clean interior.”

“We wanted something that was going to be taut,” adds Meade. “It also has this irregular, shifted panel that Kingspan was pretty good about accommodating and going along with the design of that.”

In addition to the manufacturing space, the building’s design had to include gathering spaces for employees, administrative offices, a commercial kitchen and dining area, while also incorporating energy-saving measures.

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The architects chose Designwall 1000 and Designwall 2000 panels from Kingspan. Rather than having to install multiple wall components, the builders were able to install the façade, insulation and interior walls at the same time. Instead of scheduling separate trades, project managers were able to reduce that number to one installer.

The insulated metal panels create a clean look and a double barrier against air and water penetration. The high R-value provides heavy-duty insulation, keeping the humid air outside and cool air inside.

The ability of the Designwall 2000 panels to be oriented both horizontally and vertically gave Arch 11’s architects the ability to create a modern look. They worked closely with Kingspan, choosing contrasting textures of matte Zalmag and polished stainless steel.

Within six months, the new campus was open for business.

Sailing away

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The new boathouse takes some design elements from the former structure but uses contemporary materials like Kingspan panels.

The Canal Dock Boathouse is the centerpiece for waterfront sports and recreation on the Quinnipiac river in New Haven, Connecticut. It serves as home to Yale University’s crew teams and hosts community events on a large outdoor dock or in indoor multipurpose rooms.

The Canal Dock Boathouse replaces the historic George Adee Memorial Boathouse, built in 1911 but razed in 2007 to make room for a new bridge across the Quinnipiac River. The new building honors the heritage of the old building by incorporating salvaged elements including its front entrance, a staircase and a fireplace.

The new boathouse also takes some of its design elements from the former structure but uses contemporary materials, including Kingspan insulated metal panels.

Donna Hall, senior project planner for the City of New Haven, notes that the facility was “originally supposed to be clad in terra-cotta, but the bid for that was an outrageous sum of money. We looked at other materials for the exterior of the building that could not only maintain the integrity, design intent and vision but also the quality of building we were trying to achieve. We decided on metal panels,” she says. 

Richard Wies, principal architect at Gregg Wies & Gardner, which was chosen to design the boathouse, says, “I like that they’re light weight, their means of fastening and sealing are logical and rational, and that they can be adapted to a wide variety of forms and surfaces. They have lots of nice finish options, as well as textures and forms of material.”

In addition to manufacturing products that reduce energy usage, the parent company Kingspan has set targets for its own carbon footprint.

Some of the targets that will impact the embodied carbon of the company’s products—all with a deadline of 2030—include increasing the use of direct renewable energy to 60 percent; increasing its on-site renewable energy generation to 20 percent; and reducing the product CO2 intensity from its primary supply partners by 50 percent.


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The $13 million project includes a 6,000-square-foot fitness center, 8,000-square-foot gymnasium, 10,000-square-foot library, 6,000-square-foot police department, 10,000-square-foot administrative offices, public meeting space, foyer and atrium.

Kingspan supplied the exterior structures for the Edgewater Civic Center in Colorado.

The $13 million project includes a 6,000-square-foot fitness center, 8,000-square-foot gymnasium, 10,000-square-foot library, 6,000-square-foot police department, 10,000-square-foot administrative offices, public meeting space, foyer and atrium.

The design team from RATIO Architects, Chicago, faced two significant challenges with the building: fit several different entities, each with unique needs, into one building with limited space and keep the project under budget. The city also wanted a highly efficient building with a focus on sustainability.

Insulated metal panels allowed the architects to enclose the civic center using predominately one material, a system that is both energy efficient and cost effective, while giving the exterior a modern, sophisticated appearance.

By specifying Kingspan’s KarrierPanel insulated metal panels, which are GreenGuard Gold Certified, the architects were able to create a sustainable design. The panels serve as a rain screen and allow designers the flexibility to use any number of façades. About 55,000 square feet of IMPs were used to complete the project.

“We had to make sure that when we selected materials for the building that we were addressing those sustainable design initiatives,” recalls Dennis Humphries, principal and owner of Humphries Poli Architects and formerly of RATIO Architects.

At first, city officials weren’t sold on the use of metal in the design of the civic center, thinking it would give the building an industrial look. “Once we showed the [city] the different colors and textures we were going to use, their concerns immediately went away. We were able to show them how sophisticated the panels looked as an exterior skin on the building.”


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