Excellent Retrofitted Metal Craft and Detailing: Industrial Park Emerald

It used to be a dog food factory, now retrofitted, it’s the envy of our Metal Construction News Project Excellence Awards judges who honored it with a Judges Award.

Transforming an old block building into a piece of art earns a 2021 Metal Construction News Project Excellence Judges Award

By Mark Robins

Photos courtesy of Mark Youngers, John Clark, Tom Ruzicka, Dan Doty

The 4141 Fairbanks building in Kansas City, Kan., is the new headquarters of Delta Innovative Services Inc., a commercial roofing contractor, and its sister architectural sheet metal company DB2 Services Inc.

“I thought it was fantastic,” says awards judge Steve Dumez, FAIA, “the craft and the detailing and the way in which metal was used. Awards judge Matthew Kruntorád called the retrofitted building “an interesting expression of craft, and a really beautiful expression of craft and assembly. The material—really beautiful pieces—speak to how the material can be used.”

Awards judge William S. Duff Jr., AIA, LEED AP, believes the retrofit shows, “ambitious use of metal panels to give texture and definition to an otherwise rectangular box building. It’s a beautiful design concept, going onto a brick building—creative stretching in ways to use metal in an innovative manner.”

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Retrofitted Building

The unique 86,000-square-foot building, sits in a prime location for accessing public transportation, and houses new modern offices and amenities, a huge fabrication floor, specialty fabrication areas and plenty of warehouse space.

“Undoubtedly, this renovated building has brought diversity to the industrial zone of the city. I would call this project an emerald in the heart of the industrial park located on the edge of the Kansas City metropolitan area,” says Aldar Gilyandikov, project manager, DB2 Services.

“Everything was designed, drawn, fabricated and installed in house,” says Dan Doty, We Care manager, Delta Innovative Services. “We wanted to showcase what is possible so owners and architects can be more creative. We wanted to transform an old block building in to a piece of art. DB2 oversaw everything but the major challenge was creating something new that hadn’t been done locally before.”

The retrofit really began when new windows and entrances were punched into the masonry wall sections. Parapets were framed and sheathed. The panel elevations were furred out with vertical metal hat sections and screening prior to being covered with Zip System Wall Sheathing. This outer wall configuration allowed for easy installation of the rain screen panels and ample air circulation behind the new assembly. Field dimensions were fused with the challenging design intent, and after several iterations, a working mockup was constructed, and the design and layout were finalized, in-house programming and fabrication could begin.

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A Billboard of Potential

As an architectural metal fabricator, DB2’s goal was that the new facility radiated not just its capabilities, but also its unique personality. Aluminum composite material (ACM) panels were the panel of choice because throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been the easiest for DB2 to procure, as lead times and availability have changed little. Gilyandikov calls the retrofit, “an industrial estate that received a unique metal skin with bright colors and shapes.” Also, Doty adds, “Keeping the building block and brick is boring. Using over 850 unique panels in conjunction with those repeated achieved our goal of being a billboard of potential.”

A total of five different colors and finishes were used in the final architectural layout. Chesapeake, Va.-based Mitsubishi Chemical America Inc.’s ALPOLIC ACM panels in MFS Gray and CLR Clear Anodized finishes, while Manning, S.C.-based Alucoil’s Larson ACMs in three custom color greens matched the company logo and identity. All ACMs were 4-mm-thick, with fire-resistant cores. The ACM sheets were routed on one of two CNC routing tables, and panel legs were returned on imported panel folding brake tables. Finally, the panels are fitted with perimeter lineal extrusions and stiffeners. Extra care was taken to properly reinforce and bracket the unique 3-D panel shapes.

“As for the metal panel’s framing, we used Atlanta-based SAF’s SAF Extrusion System C-4000,” Gilyandikov says. “The challenges we had were to transfer 3-D shaped panels’ layout diagonally on the substrates and blend four different design ideas.