TIDE Academy


Safe, engaging, enriching, interactive. This is the design basis of TIDE Academy (Technology, Innovation, Design and Engineering) in Menlo Park, CA. TIDE Academy is a STEM high school that utilizes Dri-Design Perforated Series Panels as both sunscreen and ornamental railing on portions of the building.

“The design team focused on minimizing the environmental footprint of the school in various ways,” says Jason Zeeff, Vice President of Dri-Design. “The Perforated Series Panels do their part by shading the building and reducing solar heat gain while functioning as a railing in some areas and bringing visual interest to the entire school.”

Rua and Son Mechanical, Rocklin, CA, installed 13,000 square feet of Medium Bronze anodized-aluminum Perforated Dri-Design Panels. The Perforated Panel Series provides necessary airflow and shade to a structure without sacrificing style or design. Virtually any shape and pattern can be perforated into the panels.

Anodizing combines science with nature to create one of the world’s best metal finishes. It takes the natural oxidation process and helps it along by adding electricity and chemicals to produce a dense surface that is integral with the aluminum. This process brings out the natural variation in the aluminum. The durable and eye-catching finish is available in several shades.

The panels were installed directly onto steel columns. The Rua and Son Mechanical team pre-marked the steel with installation points, and then the Perforated Series Panels were screwed onto the marks.

“The installation took about two to three months to complete,” says Fernando Huizar, a project manager with Rua and Son Mechanical. “From our perspective, this is a pretty simple system. We didn’t need any special tools, just a laser and screws.”

The company has been working with Dri-Design for about 12 years in a variety of markets, especially retail. “Dri-Design is a solid partner and has systems in place to ensure accuracy from the front end to the install and after,” says Louie Rua, president of Rua and Son Mechanical.

Designed by LPA Inc., TIDE Academy spans about 44,000 square feet in the south end of the San Francisco Bay area. The L-shaped building is 3-stories high and provides access and connection to outside learning spaces, as well as views of the bay. Surrounded by high-tech institutions, the school’s aesthetics give a nod to its neighbors and reflects the technology-focused education that happens inside. LPA won the AIA national 2023 Architecture Award, the industry’s highest honor for a single project, for TIDE Academy.

About Dri-Design

DriDesign_logo_020511Dri-Design was founded in 1995 to "solve significant problems with traditional metal panel systems—delamination, staining because of the effects of weather on joints and gaskets, a lack of color and texture options, the rising cost of production and inefficient installation practices." Panels of the Dri-Design® Wall Panel System can be installed over commercial-grade Tyvek onto plywood, or they can be used with outboard insulation pressure-equalized rainscreen systems. The 100% recyclable panels can be manufactured from a variety of materials, including zinc, copper, stainless steel, and painted and anodized aluminum. Panels are available in any fluoropolymer paint color and are sized and detailed to meet the specific requirements of each project. Unique profiles include: Shadow, Tapered, Perforated, Embossed, Textured, Imaging Technology and Inspire. These options create angles, textures, depth, images and performance that cannot be matched. The Dri-Design® Wall Panel System is Dade County and AAMA 508-07 approved.

To learn more about the company's products, visit

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