The Learning Resource Center at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College recently underwent a complete transformation. Done out of necessity, Mariposa Hall's renovation and expansion improved functionality and efficiency and gave the building a look befitting its role as campus centerpiece. The new appearance was created with the help of a titanium zinc cladding system fabricated by PeachTree City, GA-based MetalTech USA. The zinc it used was prePatina Blue Gray RHEINZINK, a product of RHEINZINK America, Woburn, MA.
Some 34,000 sq. ft. of 1.2mm-thick (18-gauge) RHEINZINK material was needed to complete the project. The renovation architect was Harley Ellis Devereaux of Los Angeles. Handling the installation of the RHEINZINK panels was Tinco Sheet Metal, also of Los Angeles.
The newly reorganized, multifaceted complex is set to house a diversity of programs and supporting organizations for students, faculty, and staff including a library, offices, and computer labs. As part of the facility's transformation the building was stripped down to its bare bones, upgraded to current code and outfitted with new infrastructure systems throughout.
The renovation included enclosing ground level spaces beneath second floor overhangs, converting second floor perimeter open space and second floor interior atrium space, thereby increasing the existing structure’s usable square footage from 81,807 square feet to 99,565 gsf. To enhance the facility’s appearance and functionality as the campus’ focal point, the façade of the building was re-designed to better connect with its surroundings on all four sides. With this in mind, the building envelope, a zinc rain screen system fabricated by MetalTech-USA, was conceived by the project designer Michael Bulander of Harley Ellis Devereaux as a series of undulating ribbons jutting out beyond the existing floor structure to identify entranceways, provide canopies and sunshades on particular levels, and radiate an outward energy to the four corners of the campus.
“Zinc was selected for this project for its organic character and the slight variations in the finish as it develops a matte patina overtime,” states Bulander. This distinct patina contributes to the lively appearance of the building in its central campus location. Bulander mentions zinc’s ‘self- healing’ attribute as another important quality for a community college environment. As the protective patina develops, scratches and imperfections will self-repair over time.
The building envelope consists of 34,000 square feet of Rheinzink preweathered Blue Gray Zinc Interlocking Reveal Panels. With large areas of cladding, oil canning is sometimes a concern and the architect wanted to keep this visual characteristic to a minimum. To ensure the architect’s aesthetic requirements were met, 18 gauge/1.2 mm zinc was used rather than a thinner material, even though thinner would have saved money. Eric Simonsen, MetalTech-USA VP and Project Manager, worked closely with the installing contractor during the initial contract phases to make sure the material thickness was not compromised.
MetalTech made several job site visits working with the installers to provide feedback and ensure the architect’s intended result. Progressive design, in conjunction with MetalTech’s sustainable cladding, realized HED’s goal of the LRC becoming a “true functional and symbolic centerpiece of the academic campus.”
Sustainability was an important project goal. The Learning Resource Center is targeted to achieve a LEED™ Platinum Certification. The utilization of zinc panels in the façade contributed to this certification via a high performance building envelope that is energy efficient, maintenance friendly, and aesthetically pleasing.
The project was completed in May 2013. Suffolk General Construction Co., Los Angeles, was the general contractor.
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Photos courtesy of RMA photography