The developer of a 60,000 sq. ft. strip mall in Ashville, NC found a way to breathe new life into an aging structure, thanks in part to the addition of image-transforming products from Schofield, WI-based Airolite.
The building in question was constructed on an 8-acre site in 1985. Considered for demolition, the building–-formerly anchored by a supermarket–was transformed into the corporate offices and manufacturing center for AvL Technologies.
AvL manufactures mobile satellite communications antennae systems and positioners. Its new corporate office and manufacturing center is now part of an urban village development including contemporary shops, restaurants and residential condominiums. Former retail shops in the original building now serve as light-filled offices, and the large grocery and drug store spaces are now dedicated to manufacturing functions. The brick facade, walls, slabs, steel and bar joist structure are all original construction.
The building appears new and designed specifically for its current use, but in reality very little is new. Several design elements featuring custom-engineered Airolite products helped create the desired corporate identity. A brise soleil created with vertical metal louvers, along with perforated aluminum sun controls, provide a contemporary and striking visual first impression, adding texture, scaling and detail to the building. A new main public entrance is identified by a sculpture and structural elements that also provide a compositional balance to the louvered façade.
The vertical bris soleil was produced with 12-inch deep extruded aluminum airfoil blades and is supported by adjacent vertical columns. This prominent structure poses bold sight and shadow lines making a dramatic statement with the new façade that reflects the state-of-the art satellite communications technologies produced by the company. As a complement to the monumental vertical brise soleil, a horizontal band of sun controls incorporating 0.125”-thick aluminum sheet–with ½” diameter round holes spaced 11/16” on center in a staggered pattern–are canted from tube steel supports to provide contrast, texture, scaling and further detail.
The monumental vertical brise soleil shades and protects the entry to the manufacturing space. The perforated sun controls also yield thermal shading and manage glare imposed on the west-facing windows to advance the energy efficiency goals for the renovation. Tube steel structures frame each window opening and provide support for wind and snow-load forces that cannot be accommodated by the original wall construction. The louvers and sun controls were customized to accommodate the architect’s unique design intent.
Fisher Architects of Ashville, developed the renovation design for the building. KCB Construction of Ashville was the general contractor. The Airolite representative was Kuester Sales Company Inc. of Charlotte, NC.