Standing in the midst of a hyper-industrial site adjacent to the Houston Ship Channel, the new Intermarine Shipyard Operations and Office Building indexes the international shipping industry it serves. Designed as a terminal visitor center for clients and impetus for new business, as well as the firm’s base of operations in the port, the building and its architecture reference the iconography, processes and spatial opportunities of the shipyard.
According to Jeff Brown, the principal in charge of design at Houston-based Powers Brown Architecture, the design team initially conceived that the building might be constructed out of actual shipping containers. Ultimately though, they determined that their goals would be better served by referencing them in the design instead of using them to form the structure.
To resist damage from the caustic environment of the shipyard, aluminum cladding materials with a variety of finishes, profiles and transparencies were used to create the building’s skin. To unify the architecture, smooth panels of Reynobond® aluminum composite material (ACM) finished with a Design Line™ Zinc Patina paint coating were used with a reveal grid as an abstract reference to a ship’s hull. Reynobond® and Design Line™ are both products of Alcoa Architectural Products, Eastman, GA. The natural variations in the paint coating provide a visual texture to an otherwise blank wall in places where glazing was not desired. Southern Architectural Systems, Inc., Houston, fabricated and installed 14,345 square feet of Reynobond® panels in a dry-joint rainscreen extruded system for the exterior facade and the fascia at the roof pavilion.
Made to last, Design Line™ coil-coated paint finishes resist sun, extreme temperatures, humidity and saltwater, offering a 20-year warranty. According to David LaBernz, president of SAS, the Zinc Patina pattern is so realistic the design team found it virtually indistinguishable from natural zinc and chose it for its good looks, performance and economical price tag.
The $4 million, Intermarine Shipyard Operations and Office Building is the first of its kind in the shipyard. The five-story, channel-side structure houses Intermarine’s technical, operations, traffic and terminal teams, as well as a customer center with sightlines to all of the company’s docks.
Rosenberger Construction, Suger Land, TX, was the general contractor for the project.
Photography Credit: Mark Johnson Photography, Inc., Houston, Texas