The family of products from Flex-Ability Concepts, Oklahoma City, OK, was used extensively in the arch-laden design of the new St. Therese of Carmel Catholic Church in San Diego, CA. Flex-C Trac®, Flex-C Arch™ and Flex-C Angle were all utilized in a variety of interior and exterior radii applications to create a striking, inviting look for the 1,000- seat church.
The Flex-C Trac system provides an easy way for builders to frame high quality curves by utilizing a simple, flexible metal track or plate for use with wood or metal studs.
More than 8,000 linear feet of Flex-Ability Concepts products were used, including 8” and 10” 16 gauge Flex-C Trac on the top and bottom of structural beams used to frame radii above and below.
Hyndman & Hyndman Architects, Cardiff By The Sea, CA, developed the design. The design objectives, according to Shelly Hyndman, “included providing a building footprint and form that would emphasize the long linear center aisle used for processions in liturgies while still providing a contemporary ‘seating in the round’ worship space. Multiple arches were used to establish a consistent vocabulary and provide a somewhat Tuscan feeling to the building design.”
The entire building is light gauge steel framing. According to Hyndman, “The building exceeded the 50' maximum height allowable under the Type 5 building type limitations and therefore a Type 3 building was required using non-combustible construction. Additionally, many of the soffits and architectural features in the ceilings were better suited to the light weight nature of steel studs rather than wood framing. Since the super-structure was steel, this also provided for easier connections that would otherwise require additional expense in attachments between architectural features and the primary structure. The flexible track also contributed to the decision to use steel studs since the curved forms could be more economically achieved using this curveable product.”
Hyndman continued, “The performance of the Flex-C Trac was great. The subcontractor seemed to whistle through the light gauge framing portion of the job, maybe even picking up schedule delays lost to the steel structure erection time. The flexible track system was economical and more accurate and consistent than wood framing. No bends or tangential defects can be seen as is sometimes the case with wood. The congregation loves the new building!”
The framing contractor on the project was A&R Construction, San Diego. The Flex-Ability Concepts distributor was Heartland Building Materials, San Diego.