The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has expanded their gaming empire with the addition of the Wind Creek Wetumpka Casino, Alabama’s newest and largest. Completed in December of 2013, the $250 million gaming casino features an 85,000 sq. ft. gaming floor with 2,500 games and an attached 20-story luxury hotel to capitalize on the spectacular views of the nearby Coosa River. MetalTech-USA Flatlock panels, fabricated from RHEINZINK titanium zinc, were chosen to clad much of the façade of the facility, augmenting the diverse, natural material palette used in the casino's design.
As part of a multi-phase development plan, improvements included an expansion to the parking garage structure, a 2,500-position casino, lobby rotunda, food and beverage amenities, and a new porte-cochere to support the new casino experience. The positioning of the casino on the site allows room for further expansion while enabling the complex to “maintain a respectful relationship with the nearby historical archaeological area,” cites Wind Creek Wetumpka Property Manager Cody Williamson. The intended design of the Wind Creek expansion is meant to reflect the concept “shaped through time” via “the prominence of wind, water, and nature in tribal culture,” as well as the significance of the “ribbon dance” as it relates to tribal heritage, according to Wind Creek. Wind Creek had these concepts incorporated in the design stating that “the building forms evoke the sense of movement and curve gently, echoing the organic flow of the river below” and the “two distinct volumes that individually represent the flow of wind and water across the site.”
The nature-based theme translates well into the architectural design and exterior detailing with the creation of sweeping sculptural forms and the use of natural materials. The architectural forms of the river side mimic the Coosa’s gentle curves and are sheathed in overlapping materials creating a link between the interior and exterior. One such cladding material is Rheinzink 1.0 mm (20ga) prePatina Bright Rolled Zinc, manufactured by RHEINZINK America Inc. of Woburn, MA. The naturally aging zinc Flatlock panels continue around the low-rise volume on the east side of the casino, cladding a large expanse of the foremost façade and interspersing with a layering of metal panels of varying copper hues. These 22-gauge steel Reveal panels—painted in Weathered Metallic, Weathered Rustic, and Champagne Metallic—become the autumn leaves blowing across the plain providing contrast to the evergreens circling the historical site. Both the tri-colored painted steel and the natural zinc contribute to the “overall character of the exterior thus creat[ing] a sophisticated, upscale, and energetic presence on the site.”
MetalTech-USA of Peachtree City, GA was selected to fabricate both the painted steel Reveal panels and the Rheinzink Flatlocks that envelop over 45,000 sq. ft. of the low volume. The diagonally-oriented Flatlock panels monopolize almost the entirety of the gaming floor façade. The oblique orientation of these panels required a meticulous plan for installation. Panels were to be installed over a hat channel furring system. MetalTech-USA VP and Project Manager Eric Simonsen worked closely with ProClad, the installing contractor, to ensure the clip attachment points on each panel were located to correctly align with the perpendicularly oriented hat channel mounting system. The design also called for the diagonals to alternate, resulting in different install directions and making it necessary for different panel notching; therefore, “we relied heavily on accurate panel counts from the installer to make sure we supplied the appropriate number of panels for each condition,” explains Simonsen.
MetalTech-USA materials contributed to the “sophisticated, vibrant material palette that both captures the essence of the Wind Creek brand as well as focuses on the regional nuances of the Wetumpka audience,” according to Wind Creek. Inspired design, along with future expansion phases, will create a premiere destination for the gaming customer at Wind Creek Wetumpka Casino. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the way wind, water, and nature were integrated into the design to relate to tribal heritage,” cites Williamson of Wind Creek.
About RHEINZINK America Inc.
RHEINZINK America, Inc. led the introduction of zinc as an important architectural material in North America and continues to provide comprehensive technical support to architects and contractors. Environmentally friendly and 100% recyclable, RHEINZINK presents a distinctive appearance with outstanding longevity. For more information, call 781-729-0812, or visit www.rheinzink.us.