In the Downtown East neighborhood of Minneapolis, the Mills Fleet Farm Parking Garage provides much needed parking for local venues. It’s not only a convenient parking location but also an example that parking garages can go beyond function and into the realm of design. The Dri-Design Wall Panels with Perforated Imaging, which are featured at the entrances, depict a natural woods scene, thereby enlivening the streetscape.
Innovative Building Concepts LLC, Bloomington, MN, installed 4,418 square feet of 0.080-inch painted aluminum panels. Dri-Design Wall Panels with Perforated Imaging are created with advanced computer-based manufacturing. Varying the size, location and density of the perforations creates areas of light, dark and different tones in between, which ultimately forms an image on the panels. These perforations also allow the panels to provide needed airflow and shade to a structure, which is particularly important for a parking garage. Innovative Building Concepts worked with the building owner and Dri-Design to select the right image, one with enough contrast and visual appeal.
Metal was specified for the project from the start because of its strength, long lifespan and customization capabilities, but Innovative Building Concepts recommended the use of Dri-Design panels because they have worked with Dri-Design in the past.
Innovative Building Concepts worked on the design, engineering and installation of the back-up panel grid that was needed to support the 4- by 4-foot Dri-Design perforated wall panels. The grid needed to essentially float in front of the parking ramp slab edges to allow for deflection and movement that would occur between the floors. Some clip angles were designed with slots to allow for up and down movement, and the bottom clips were weight bearing. Innovative Building Concepts and Dri-Design put extra thought and care into the design because the building owner required the interior side of the panels to look just as sophisticated as the outside.
"When using panels that do not require wind clips, the installation is relatively simple—that is the main selling point for us," says Travis Jeffrey, business development manager at Innovative Building Concepts. "The quality of the panel itself and beautiful paint finishes make us feel proud to install Dri-Design."
The 1,610-stall parking ramp brings needed parking options to the area for football games and other events. The architect was RSP Architects, Minneapolis.