By Paul DeffenbaughEditorial DirectorPosted January 30, 2017

Announced at the Metal Construction Association’s (MCA) winter meeting held in Weston, Fla., the Chairman’s Awards are given to the year’s most exceptional building projects involving MCA member companies. Awards are based on overall appearance, significance of metal in the project, innovative use of metal, and the role of metal in achieving project objectives.

The Chairman’s Awards were given in eight categories: overall excellence, residential, metal roofing, education-primary and secondary schools, education- colleges and universities, institutional, municipal and commercial/industrial.

The honorees were chosen by a panel of professional architects, which included Mark Dewalt, AIA, principal, Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, Chicago; Mark Horton, FAIA, principal, Mark Horton/Architecture, San Francisco; and Brent Schipper, AIA, LEED AP, principal, ASK Studio, Des Moines, Iowa.


The 2016 Chairman’s Award winners in each category were:

Overall Excellence: Gemma Observatory, Southern New Hampshire

Commercial/Industrial: Pterodactyl, Culver City, Calif.

Education-Colleges and Universities: University of Arkansas Champions Hall, Fayetteville, Ark.

Education-Primary and Secondary Schools: Fayetteville Montessori Primary School, Fayetteville

Institutional: St. Paul Academy Huss Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul, Minn.

Municipal: San Francisco International Airport Control Tower, San Francisco

Metal Roofing: Erie Residence, Erie, Pa.

Residential: Tripartite House, Houston


Overall Excellence

The Gemma Observatory in Southern New Hampshire earned the award for Overall Excellence, the highest honor given.

The 1,200-square-foot observatory is sited at the end of a steep, 1/2-mile gravel road on a remote summit, characterized by granite bedrock outcroppings. At the center of a 3-mile radius of dark landscape, there is very little light pollution for optimal astronomical viewing. Anmahian Winton Architects, Cambridge, Mass., created a design that dismissed the traditional observatory dome in favor of an architectural form expressed as an extension of the site’s angular geography.

“There is a turret on the top that rotates, but unlike every other observatory, which is a round shape, it’s more like a Rubik’s Cube,” says Schipper. “It’s just fascinating and beautiful.”

Metal’s adaptability to different architectural forms made it an ideal material for cladding the building’s innovative shape and moving parts. Metal also can quickly dissipate heat gain once the sun has set. This is crucial to eliminating atmospheric distortion created by the building (similar to mirages produced on a hot day from materials that absorb heat like asphalt) and maximizes the time available for night sky observation.

The variable directionality of the panels reflects the building’s orientation to both geological and celestial landmarks, merging their different geometries and expressing the observatory as a nexus for where they come together. In addition, the zinc color matches the granite outcroppings, tying the building to its immediate environment.

“It appears that (the mountain stones) were pushed up against the base of the foundation … and then transforms into metal and becomes this small building,” says Dewalt. “Because the scale, even though it’s not that big of a building, you could think it was 10 stories tall.”

Furthermore, metal met the need to create a sustainable structure that functions completely off the grid. The zinc panels require no maintenance and are part of a super-insulated wall assembly that minimizes the cost of operating the building.


Overall Excellence: Gemma Observatory, Southern New Hampshire
Architect: Anmahian Winton Architects, Cambridge, Mass.,
General contractor: Patriot Painters & Builders, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Metal fabricator/installer: Crocker Architectural Sheet Metal Co. Inc., North Oxford, Mass.,
MCA member manufacturer: Umicore Building Products USA Inc., Raleigh, N.C.,



The Pterodactyl office building in Culver City, Calif., serves as office space for an advertising agency atop a parking garage in a complex of new and remodeled buildings.

The parking structure is the conceptual podium for the office building. Buildings in the area are three floors or less, so the office building on the roof affords spectacular views of the entire city from downtown to the Santa Monica Mountains to the Westside of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. The 800-car, four-level parking structure is straightforward and inexpensive construction of steel frame, metal decks, bays and ramps at opposite ends.

The office building is formed by the intersection of nine rectangular boxes, lifted one level above the garage roof, stacked either on top of or adjacent to each other, along the west edge of the garage roof. The nine boxes organize essential program elements connected by an interior second-floor bridge. The underside of the boxes is cut to accommodate an open plan on the main office floor below. The boxes are supported on the steel column grid extended from the parking structure. Highlighting the façade are Woburn, Mass.-based RHEINZINK America Inc.’s prePATINA blue-grey Flat Lock Tiles. The metal tiles were also used in a low-slope roof application.

“You couldn’t do anything like this in masonry or wood or anything else, that would have the same impact,” says Dewalt.

The Pterodactyl office is the final phase of the Wedgewood Holly campus: office buildings that were originally part of a grouping of contiguous warehouses in Culver City that had been added to since the 1940s. The design premise required a strategic removal of portions of the original buildings in order to establish new building identities, allow sufficient space for landscaping, and accommodate both pedestrian and automobile circulation on the site.

The original four-level parking garage was built in 1998. The structure was designed to anticipate a future building, with steel columns extended above the top floor plate. With the addition of the Pterodactyl in 2015, the final element of the Wedgewood Holly complex is complete.


Commercial/Industrial: Pterodactyl, Culver City, Calif.
Building owner: Frederick and Laurie Samitaur Smith
Architect: Eric Owen Moss Architects, Culver City,
General contractor: Samitaur Constructs, Culver City,
Metal installer: Architectural Metal Cladding Inc., West Hollywood, Calif.,
Metal fabricator: CSI Architectural Metal, Inc., Carson, Calif.,
MCA member manufacturer: RHEINZINK America Inc., Woburn, Mass.,


Education: Colleges and Universities

Funded primarily by the university’s athletics department, Champions Hall is located on the southern edge of the university’s historic academic core. The building fills a deficit in classrooms and laboratory environments, while serving as a hub and student destination that energizes the surrounding campus neighborhood. The project sits between two prominent hilltops in an understated ‘service valley’ and is adjacent to a large parking garage and central utility plant. The use of metal allows the design to elegantly interweave the utilitarian language of the adjacent structures while complimenting the highly defined material palette of the nearby historical academic core. With the majority of neighboring buildings being elevated, the roof becomes the building’s highly visible fifth elevation. Here, economical standing seam metal roof panels fold down to become wall, creating identifiable and memorable entry portals at the building’s north end.

“This project is all about metal, even down to the horizontal joints that happen in the walls,” says Schipper. “It gives a texture at night with glimmers of light, and in the daytime it’s like a musical rhythm.”

The aesthetic and functional versatility of the metal material was a major factor in its selection. The wrapping elements of the building required a material that could be used on both horizontal and vertical surfaces while addressing issues of water infiltration. Metal’s durability and sustainability were other factors that made it a clear choice. The design team specified material that was regionally sourced and with a high recycled content to help contribute towards LEED credits.

In addition to the highly visible roof, the site’s location within the university campus further required access and entries from all sides of the building, eliminating the option of a back or service side. Perforated metal wall panels were utilized to elegantly conceal intake and exhaust openings to mechanical rooms, seamlessly integrating them into the south and west façades and allowing these services to be located directly adjacent to building entries.


Education: Colleges and Universities: University of Arkansas Champions Hall, Fayetteville, Ark.
Building owner: University of Arkansas
Architects: SmithGroupJJR, Phoenix,; and Miller Boskus Lack, Fayetteville,
General contractor: Nabholz Construction, Conway, Ark.,
Metal installer: Harness Roofing Inc., Harrison, Ark.,
Metal fabricator: McElroy Metal, Bossier City, La.,
MCA member accessories: D.I. Roof Seamers, Corinth, Miss.,
MCA member coating manufacturers: Valspar Corp., Minneapolis, and Arkema Inc., King of Prussia, Pa.,
MCA member coil coating manufacturer: Precoat Metals, St. Louis,
MCA member manufacturer: McElroy Metal


Education: Seconday and Primary

The Fayetteville Montessori Primary required a complete renovation, transforming an outdated suburban strip mall into a nine-classroom school building to fit seamlessly into the existing campus. The renovation, which was completed in 11 months for $132 per square foot, utilizes the original structure of the building, including the glass storefronts on two walls, which now provide expansive banks of natural light for classrooms. Angled walls, conceived of as a carapace, drop in front of the windows to provide shade and visual separation from the street. An addition on the north side of the building intersects the existing building, creating a dynamic corner framing two courtyards, used for outdoor play, between the old and the new.

A new elementary school, built in 2012, established a material language and identity for the campus. The existing materials, budget constraints, time constraints, and elegant detailing lead to the decision to use dark bronze box rib metal panel to unify the campus with a new aesthetic. The metal panel allowed lightweight, cantilevered, angled walls to fold down in front of the windows, providing shade and a visual separation from the street. With custom corner details, the metal panel seamlessly navigated existing odd angles, and helped establish a material logic that integrated the existing structure and a three-classroom addition. The metal panel met the budget needs, and worked with established detailing and aesthetics from the elementary school, extending and unifying the campus.

“It’s really bold and creates a strong contemporary statement from a building that’s been recycled,” says Dewalt.


Education: Secondary and Primary: Fayetteville Montessori Primary School, Fayetteville, Ark.
Building owner: Victoria Butler
Architect: Marlon Blackwell Architects, Fayetteville,
General contractor: Nabholz Construction, Conway, Ark.,
Metal installer: Harness Roofing Inc., Harrison, Ark.,
MCA member coating manufacturers: Arkema Inc., King of Prussia, Pa., www.arkema-inc.comand Valspar Corp., Minneapolis,
MCA member manufacturer: Metal Sales Manufacturing Corp., Louisville, Ky.,



The St. Paul Academy and Summit School Huss Center for the Performing Arts is a state-of-theart facility for musical and theatrical productions. The new auditorium seats 650 for performances, school gatherings, and community events. In addition to the auditorium, the building features a 180- seat multi-use space, and area for costume and set design, in addition to a two-story arts commons.

The center is a series of boxes clad in thin, stack-bond face brick, with playfully arranged large windows. The architects lined two sides-the sides heavily trafficked by students-with a system of white, perforated-aluminum screens that angle out to reveal glimpses of the red-painted precast panels beneath. The eye-catching screens lighten the visual weight of the building; the brick allows it to achieve subtle harmony with a campus whose varied styles-from Tudor Revival to modernist and beyond-tell the story of 20th century American architecture.

The designers “really understood making beautiful proportions, and they did that with the application of a screen. Because of what they did with something really simple … it is a stunning building,” says Schipper.

Metal fabricator and installer, MG Mc- Grath Architectural Surfaces, Maplewood, Minn., worked with HGA Architects and Engineers, Minneapolis, and McGough Construction, St. Paul, to fabricate and install multiple types of aluminum panels to the exterior and interior of the facility. On the exterior, MG McGrath Architectural Surfaces installed custom-perforated aluminum wall panels and frames, with Eastman, Ga.-based Arconic Architectural Products’ Reynobond composite panels as accents. MG McGrath Architectural Surfaces also installed exterior aluminum window and wall trims in Pure White and Deep Onyx with a Kynar finish. On the interior of the building, MG McGrath Architectural Surfaces installed custom-perforated aluminum sheet wall panels in bronze and custom-perforated aluminum heater fin covers. Some of the aluminum wall panels on the first floor of the building’s auditorium were mounted on hinges, allowing the panels to open and expose the acoustical material mounted on the back. Metal was selected to achieve the modern aesthetic while providing sustainability and functionality.


Institutional: St. Paul Academy Huss Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul, Minn.
Building owner: St. Paul Academy
Architect: HGA Architects & Engineers, Minneapolis,
General contractor: McGough Construction, St. Paul,
Metal fabricator/installer: MG McGrath Architectural Surfaces, Maplewood, Minn.,
Metal perforator: Accurate Perforating, Chicago,
MCA member manufacturers: Accurate Perforating and Arconic Architectural Products, Eastman, Ga.,
MCA member coating manufacturer: Arkema Inc., King of Prussia, Pa.,



The design of San Francisco International Airport’s new airport traffic control tower not only focused on functional goals-including withstanding a magnitude 8.0 earthquake, offering maximum sightlines and accommodating state-of-the-art electronics-it also needed to serve as an iconic airport symbol.

The resulting 221-foot-tall, 5,652-square-foot shimmering metal tower features a geometrically complex design resembling a sweeping torch that is topped with an offset control cab-the latter providing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic controllers with an unobstructed 270-degree view of airport runways and taxiways. The tower is the tallest vertical self-centering post tension concrete structure in the United States and is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Aluminum composite material (ACM) was the option chosen to clad the tower, with a total of 10,000 square feet of formable 4-mm ACM painted in the custom SFO Silver color by 3A Composites USA. Recyclable Alucobond, which is manufactured with both post-manufacturing and post-consumer content, contributes LEED credits to building projects.

The west face of the airport control tower is opened vertically with a backlit glass façade that stretches 147 feet high to create a local visual landmark. Situated above a new three-story FAA office building and walkways connecting two terminals, the open-core design allows passengers to gaze directly up into the tower through corridor skylights to view the cascading waterfall lighting. The tower lighting can be changed based on the mood of the airport. For example, LED colored lighting transforms the tower in recognition of holidays and special events.

“It looks like some sort of a floral shape,” says Dewalt. “It is really interesting to see something like that rendered in metal. It’s a total contradiction to the form but I think it works and looks really interesting. And it’s a big departure from your traditional control tower concept.”

The torch design is reminiscent of the historic pier torches utilized in the 1800s to guide ships to port in San Francisco Bay, according to Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, president, CEO and principalin- charge of design, Fentress Architects, Denver.


Municipal: San Francisco International Airport Control Tower, San Francisco
Building owner: San Francisco International Airport, a department of the City and County of San Francisco
Master architect: HNTB Corp., San Francisco,
Architect of record: Fentress Architects, Denver,
General contractor: Hensel Phelps Construction Co., San Jose, Calif.,
Metal installer: Pacific Erectors Inc., Rocklin, Calif.,
Metal fabricator: Keith Panel Systems Co. Ltd., North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,
MCA member manufacturer: Alucobond by 3A Composites USA Inc., Davidson, N.C.,


Metal Roofing

Originally built in 1926, the unique lakeside cottage’s 25-year-old roof was due for replacement. Traditional asphalt shingles were ruled out due to their lack of long-term durability. The roof’s unique 2-foot overhang required a malleable material to accommodate this architectural challenge. Metal roofing was selected for its balance of form and function. Custom gray VMZ Adeka panels by Umicore Building Products USA Inc., Raleigh, N.C., which mimic the appearance of shingles, were chosen. In addition to the zinc paneling for the roof, VMZINC downspouts, gutters and other decorative ornamentals were used to give the home a cohesive look.

To fit the radius of the buildings overhangs, the prefabricated panels were individually stretched and shrunk to create a striking diamond pattern reminiscent of scales.

With Pennsylvania’s harsh winter weather, zinc’s exceptional performance in extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, was another main factor in the decision to use the metal product. Another advantage, zinc naturally forms its own protective layer called a patina that redevelops or self-heals imperfections, decreasing ongoing maintenance needs.

When the zinc is scratched, this process spurs a natural recovery that avoids the need for repainting or other rehabilitation efforts. In addition, architectural zinc is fully recyclable, from construction scrap to end of use, which contributes to the project’s overall sustainability and performance.

“We all commented about the intricacy of this roof,” says Schipper. “We saw such craftsmanship on the roof and so much importance given to the roof, it was the project that took the roof the furthest.”


Metal Roofing: Erie Residence, Erie, Pa.
Building owner: Grack
Architect/general contractor/metal installer: A.J. Grack Business Interiors, Erie, Pa.,
Metal fabricator: Umicore Building Products USA Inc., Raleigh, N.C.,
MCA member manufacturer: Umicore Building Products



Addressing the issues of urban infill, this home is set on a busy street in a transitional neighborhood. Located where a vacant apartment complex stood, this house is part of a grouping of new homes that reinserts life into the neighborhood.

Three stacked layers divide the public and private realms of the home into a strata of functional zones responding to the occupants’ needs. The first floor extends outward, engaging views through floor-to-ceiling glass in the public realm and embracing connections to the community and greenspace. The second floor utilizes solid forms with zinc-clad cantilevered areas, which cloak the intimate spaces within. The third floor captures rooftop space into a breezy sky-filled zone where occupants enjoy the evening above the fray. By stacking these layers, the home allows greater openness and visual connection on the first floor while maintaining privacy on the levels above.

“It’s a very elegant arrangement of residential spaces with a lot of light and interesting uses of metal,” says Dewalt.

“I think the use of different textures, many of which are metal, provide a really nice composition,” says Horton.

The home is anticipated to receive LEED Platinum status though use of sustainable materials, including the zinc façade. Energy-minded features were also employed including high performance insulation and AC system, low-flow plumbing, and hydrophilic nanocoating with self-cleaning properties. Rainwater is harvested to meet the site’s entire irrigation demand and an expandable solar array is designed to offer future energy independence.

Natural metals helped achieve the project goals of authenticity, quality and sustainability. Zinc enhanced the modern lines of the home on the façade, creating a durable, maintenance-free, sustainable surface. Zinc also provided more depth and richness in appearance than other materials. Carbon steel, used on the interior though exposed beams and stair structure, expresses the structural logic to the home, relating to the goal of authenticity. As a cradle-to-cradle material, carbon steel also helped achieve the sustainability goals. Weathering steel in the landscape was used to define space without becoming a fence. The beams, made with recyclable content, glow dramatically in the afternoon sun. Completely recyclable clear anodized aluminum was used as panels on the interior, which helped achieved the desired aesthetic, clean lines, and feeling of quality and authenticity in the home. Throughout the project, natural metals enhance the authenticity, quality and sustainability of the home while enriching the overall experience.


Residential: Tripartite House, Houston
Building owners: Rame and Russell Hruska
Architect: Intexure Architects, Houston,
General contractor: Mod Fab LLC, Houston
Metal fabricator/installer: Ideal Roofing LLC, Houston,
MCA member manufacturer: Umicore Building Products USA Inc., Raleigh, N.C.,