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Great Lakes Research Center – Michigan Tech University


The four-story Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center provides 15,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art laboratory space and classrooms intended for biological, chemical, and physical research and education. The 50,000 sq. ft. facility also includes a high-tech data center, boat house, marina, and public spaces for visitors. Architectural metal products from CENTRIA are featured on the research center.

Located in Houghton, MI, the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach is used by K-12 students and teachers and for community outreach, making the facility multifunctional within the community. There are also several conference rooms and a 100-seat auditorium. The building is nestled into a tight spot on the bank of Portage Lake with unique views of the Keweenaw Waterway. The center is built to LEED Silver standards.

The university wanted to showcase low-impact building and landscape design. Metal was a way for the architects to integrate energy efficiency, storm water management, and shoreline ecosystem protection practices; it also has the appropriate specifications for a northern latitude.

CENTRIA’s Formawall Dimension Series reimagines metal by providing thermal efficiency and moisture control in a single panelized component. The insulated panels include factory foamed-in-place cores, which serve to minimize insulation gaps, along with thermal breaks between the faces and liners. The horizontal panels chosen for this project can be integrated with wall components and hence allow for an integrated, high performance system.

CENTRIA’s Concept Series of concealed fastener panels combines cost efficient aesthetics, innovation, and performance. The single-skin panels have a common lock joint that allow them to be mixed to create custom profiled wall reliefs and the smooth finished, horizontal panels used for this project have an unbroken appearance which adds versatility. The Concept Series panels have all-weather installation capabilities, perfect for the region and the stand-off clips provide a ventilation cavity and drain plane behind the panel, which also allow for thermal and seismic movements.

CENTRIA’s Formavue Windows are designed to integrate with the Formawall Dimension Series, also used in this project and provide a high-performance, thermally efficient window panel interface.

CENTRIA’s MetalWrap is a series of insulated composite backup panels, designed to be paired with brick, terra cotta, etc., making it the perfect solution for this multi-media facility. It achieves energy efficiency goals with only a single component. It features an air and vapor barrier, insulation, and a metal drain plane to control moisture and air infiltration without sacrificing thermal energy.

The architect was Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc. of Grand Rapids, MI; the CENTRIA products dealer/installer was Architectural Metals Inc. of Portland, MI; and the contractor was Granger Construction Company of Lansing, MI.

CENTRIA product used on this project included:

  • Formawall® Dimension Series® 3” Horizontal IMV - Square Feet: 12,370; Color: Silversmith; Finish: Embossed; Coating: Sundance Mica; Gauge: 22/26

  • Formawall® Dimension Series® 3” Horizontal IMV - Square Feet: 3,695; Color: Deep Sea Blue; Finish: Embossed; Coating: Fluorofinish; Gauge: 22/26

  • Formawall® Dimension Series® 3” T Horizontal - Square Feet: 771; Color: Medium Gray; Finish: Embossed; Coating: Sundance Mica; Gauge: 22/26

  • Formawall® Formavue® 600 Windows

  • Profile Series Concept Series® 200 - Square Feet: 11,470; Color: Medium Gray; Finish: Smooth; Coating: Sundance Mica; Gauge: 22

  • Profile Series Concept Series® 260 - Square Feet: 1.097; Color: Medium Gray; Finish: Smooth; Coating: Sundance Mica; Gauge: 22

  • MetalWrap™ 3” Horizontal -  Square Feet: 9,972; Finish: Smooth; Gauge: 29

LEED and the related logo is a trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and is used with permission.


CENTRIA, a Nucor company, supplies a variety of architetural metal wall and roof systems. For more information, visit

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