Collaboration with Aluminum Extruder Helps Architect Deliver Vision
“Collaboration at all levels is the driving force behind the design” of the new Dan Diepert Career and Technical Center (CTC) in Texas, according to Richard Hunt, AIA, LEED® AP, Project Designer for VLK Architects. “Expressive and monumental, the architecture is unique to the neighborhood and city as a whole,” said Hunt. “The expansive curtainwall, featuring diagonal sun shade fins, serves as a subconscious billboard to passersby – visitors and students understand they are entering an institution of higher learning and not just another run-of-the-mill high school building."
AEC member Tubelite, Inc. worked closely with Texas-based VLK Architects and glazing contractor Pierce Riverside Glass to achieve the CTC's architectural vision and meet the project's performance requirements.
Creative Mix of Standard and Custom Elements
Extruded aluminum storefront and 9-inch deep curtain wall framing system, along with custom vertical sun shades and an interior flush-glaze framing system were used in the design. The use of Tubelite Inc.'s extruded aluminum systems – on both the building's exterior and interior – emphasizes transparency to promote collaboration and connection.
Enhancing the façade's strength and thermal performance, the Wide Stile Entrances are installed within Tubelite's T14000 Storefront Framing system. T14000 Storefront is flush-glazed system ideally suited for low-rise applications. Also suited for the Texas heat, the CTC's storefront and curtainwall systems use Solarban® 60 Solar Control glass. This high-performance low-e glass blocks unwanted solar heat and allows in visible light for year-round comfort, as well as heating and cooling cost savings.
Further minimizing costs and maintenance, the clear anodize finish on all of Tubelite's aluminum systems for the CTC meets the American Architectural Manufacturers Association's AAMA 611 specification. With finish provided by Linetec, anodize protects the structural integrity of the aluminum for lasting durability. In total, Linetec finished nearly 75,000 feet of Tubelite's extruded aluminum framing systems.
Pierce Riverside installed every inch of material from Tubelite, including the 400 Series Curtainwall and custom MaxBlock® sun shades, which define the CTC's building envelope. Kevin Haynes, Tubelite's architectural specification manager, elaborated, "We worked on this project from conception with VLK and engineered a custom 24-inch vertical sun shade detail that runs the length of the of the 9-inch-deep curtainwall. Not only is the sun shade custom, but is on a slant connecting at the bottom of one vertical curtainwall mull and carries across to the top of the next vertical curtainwall mull."
Tubelite used its 3-D printer to prototype various sizes and thicknesses of the sun shade detail. "Having the 3-D printed prototypes saves a lot of money and time. These samples let the architect see something and determine the right look before committing to the expense of a bunch of new dies," said Dan Smith, Tubelite's client development manager.
Transparent and United in Building and Brand
The anodized extruded aluminum trellis (image above right) was supplied by AVAdek, according to the architect. AVAdek's covered systems and canopies are designed and built for long life, outstanding durability and architectural beauty using prefabricated extruded aluminum, and anodized or coated as required. The CTC trellis structure offers a spacious, open-air feeling while also providing some shade from the hot Texas sun. The structural element with the lineal extrusions repeats the overall building image for a branded look and feel.
Inside the CTC, VLK Architect's specified Tubelite's INT45 Interior Flush Glaze Framing system. The system's perimeter trim members were pre-applied on one side of the frame opening for fast, simple installation by Pierce Riverside.
"All 18 academies surround a central space fronted with glass to maximize transparency," observed VLK's Hunt. "Strolling down this main corridor, one can view students engaging in a variety of skills, from aligning the wheels on a Ford F150 or programming and operating CNC machines, to students styling hair or conducting TV Newscasts."
VLK Architects extended the CTC's signature look to create the all-inclusive, branded facility. Hunt explained, "The brand for the program and the building had to be united, easily recognizable, simple and powerful, symbolizing the opportunities the Center affords students in this large district. It was inspired by the building itself, using the (Tubelite) sun shade fins as the repeating image throughout." The image of the diagonal sun shades is utilized on the interior glazing as well, further strengthening the signature look.
He added, "The image not only works to identify the school, but also provides wayfinding so that academies can be easily located. Visitors and students can easily identify the Dan Dipert CTC and will remember it long after they experience it."
To learn more visit VLK Architects video tour of the building.
Photos by Chad M. Davis, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C; courtesy of Tubelite Inc.