Contemporary Copper-Colored Expression

Gestural shapes and a warm material palette create cool community library Atlanta’s Wolf Creek Library is one of eight libraries newly created by Atlanta-Fulton Libraries as part of a $275 million capital improvement program. LEO A DALY’s Atlanta office’s design challenge was to create an iconic community destination and catalyst for future growth. Envisioned as… Continue reading Contemporary Copper-Colored Expression

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Gestural shapes and a warm material palette create cool community library

Atlanta’s Wolf Creek Library is one of eight libraries newly created by Atlanta-Fulton Libraries as part of a $275 million capital improvement program. LEO A DALY’s Atlanta office’s design challenge was to create an iconic community destination and catalyst for future growth. Envisioned as a “living room for the community,” it uses gestural shapes, a striking (but warm) material palette, and light-filled spaces to give the community a place to gather.

Photos: Rion Rizzo

Situated on a semi-wooded meadow site developed to maintain its natural grading and mature trees, the design takes advantage of its spectacular views through the generous use of clear glass on the exterior façade. The library houses 5,700 square feet of adult collections, 5,000 square feet of children’s collections, a computer/learning station room, teen area, music room, sub-dividable community meeting room for 125 people, and two conference rooms with 12 to 20 seats each, as well as smart boards and projectors. Open, comfortable spaces are equipped with the latest technology, such as Wi-Fi, media and tablet checkout. It has a café and is available for author talks.


Steel-Frame Building

The library is a steel-frame building with an aluminum curtainwall system. The mullions and other exposed exterior metal elements have a natural anodized finish, which looks like raw metal, but provides added protection. “We wanted that raw metallic look as a complement to the copper-colored prismatic effect,” says Jerry Voith, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, managing principal, LEO A DALY. “Metal sunshades on the east and south provide the optimized amount of shade and sun penetration depending on the time of year.” Walker, Mich.-based Tubelite Inc. provided the curtainwall and sunshades.

Hogan Construction Group, Norcross, Ga., provided construction management services and the steel framing. The Heery/Russell joint venture of Atlanta-based Heery International Inc. and H. J. Russell
& Co. was the program manager for the library from pre-design through occu pancy. Woodstock, Ga.-based Kistler McDougall Corp. fabricated and installed ALPOLIC metal composite material panels by Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America Inc., Chesapeake, Va., in two finishes: Prismatic Magma (approximately 10,600 square feet) and Anodic Satin (approximately 2,000 square feet). The ALPOLIC material was fabricated in a Kistler McDougall Series 400 Drained/Back-Ventilated Rainscreen System. These panels are used for the façade, defining the library’s main entryway and gathering space, as well as its canopy.

Originally, a copper cladding was planned for the library to provide an iconic look for the approach while blending with the natural, wooded setting. But the architects wanted to avoid the green patina effect that develops with copper over time. “ALPOLIC materials provided a more affordable alternative that’s also lighter, more stable and easier to fabricate,” says Avery Sarden, LEO A DALY’s Wolf Creek project manager. “With changing daylight and seasons, the prismatic ‘magma’ finish morphs from an arresting red that boldly contrasts with the building’s natural setting to an autumnal orange that complements it. The secondary color of satin-anodized aluminum completes the connection with nature, transitioning to natural stone that helps to anchor the building to the earth.”

“In addition to the ALPOLIC panels, we also fabricated and installed approximately 9,000 square feet of Nichiha Illumination series fiber cement panels [from Nichiha, Johns Creek, Ga.]

in a custom Bronze finish,” says Bhrett Kistler, president of Kistler McDougall. “By using a vibrant and appealing color palette with visually striking forms, the designers created a compelling architectural structure that squashes the notion of drab, monolithic libraries of the past. The resulting space draws people in.”


Two Gestures of Upward Movement

The library’s interior and exterior space is defined and uplifted by what its designers call “two gestures of upward movement”: one copper and one stone. This suggests the “future” for the forward-thinking Wolf Creek Community.

The color palette is warm and traditional with a contemporary and iconic expression. The exterior property features an outdoor reading garden and terraced seating.

Designers used copper as a starting point when considering materials for the library’s façade. The copper-colored façade is the primary visual gesture of the design, with the rest of the materials serving as a backdrop.

“We wanted the library’s materiality to comple ment its natural setting, which we took great care to preserve in the planning and site selection process,” says Voith. “After experimenting with various materials, we ultimately decided on a FEVE/Lumiflon coating by [Minneapolis-based] Valspar Corp. that references copper, but with added visual interest, more durability and at a lower price point. We got that wonderful sparkling orange color by using a finish called Prismatic Magma, which was applied to lightweight ALPOLIC composite aluminum panels.

The prismatic finish gives it an evolving visual effect throughout the day, changing based on how the light hits it. It’s a dramatic juxtaposition against the natural setting and natural materials used elsewhere on the building. We wanted the stone material to come out of the earth, giving the design an organic quality. The bright metal provides contrast, and the glass curtainwall provides translucency, fills the interiors with natural light, and gives views to the forest and pond.”


LEED Silver Standards

The library is designed to LEED Silver standards with the following sustainable components:

• Light-colored roof to reduce heat island effect

• Sunshades and light shelves for daylight control

• Optimal use of on-site storm water management

• Maximum use of regional construction materials

• Low water-consumption plumbing fixtures

• Construction waste management

• Swales at the parking area to control stormwater runoff

• Enhanced commissioning

Many passive energy savings strategies are implemented at the library. Daylighting is achieved by a combination of punched window openings and window walls in the entry, reading and permanent occupied spaces. Insulating glass from Trulite, Peachtree City, Ga., is used for all the windows. The building envelope is fully insulated in accordance with the requirements of the Energy

Analysis and applicable design guides. System occupancy schedules allows equipment shutdown during building area unoccupied periods, except where operating is required for humidity control or heating. Carbon dioxide sensors will be used to reduce outside air where applicable. The energy consumption improvement is determined using the Performance Rating Method found in Appendix G of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007, as required to meet the LEED requirements.

Present throughout the design and construction process was an assigned LEED facilitator from the Heery/Russell team whose sole responsibility was to advocate for achieving LEED Silver certification. “Our LEED administrator began each project with a daylong LEED work session involving the full design and construction teams,” says Dennis C. LaGatta, vice president at Heery International and project executive at Heery/Russell. “The administrator followed the progress of the design, continually assisting the teams looking for opportunities to score LEED points and during construction, LEED was a standing agenda item at weekly progress meetings with the construction manager.”


Sidebar: Orientation

The 5.8-acre site is heavily wooded with sloped topography that made for a challenge in establishing the final building location. The main entry to the library was not visible from the street if the building was placed on the site for the most cost-effective site excavation and did not take advantage of the best views to the wooded site from important interior library functions. The best solar orientation for optimum energy sustainability to achieve LEED certification also required more costly site excavation.

Heery/Russell, working with the county and the designer, chose to position the building on a prominent ridge whose entry faced the main street, focusing views from inside the library toward the heavily wooded site and pond feature. This not only took advantage of the best views on the site, it also allowed for improved solar orientation with minimal excavation premium costs.

Dennis C. LaGatta, vice president at Heery International Inc. and project executive at Heery/Russell⎯a joint venture, Atlanta.

Sidebar: Wolf Creek Library, Atlanta

Architect: LEO A DALY, Atlanta

Construction manager: Hogan Construction Group, Norcross, Ga.

Program management team: Heery/Russell, Atlanta

Metal panel fabricator/installer: Kistler McDougall Corp., Woodstock, Ga., www.kmcorpusa.com

Aluminum composite panels: ALPOLIC-Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America Inc., Chesapeake, Va., www.alpolic-usa.com

Coatings: Valspar Corp., Minneapolis, www.paintandcolor.com

Curtainwall and sunshades: Tubelite Inc., Walker, Mich., www.tubeliteinc.com

Insulating glass: Trulite, Peachtree City, Ga., www.trulite.com

Steel framing: Hogan Construction Group, www.hoganconstructiongroup.com