MGM National Harbor casino and hotel, Oxon Hill, Md.

Photo: Alex Fradkin

Prominently perched on a hill overlooking the Potomac River, HKS Inc. and SmithGroupJJR designed MGM National Harbor casino and hotel to serve as a landmark to its community and gateway into Maryland.

Eddie Abeyta, principal and senior vice president at HKS Inc., design architect for the project, says, “Inspiration for the project stemmed from the strength and timeless qualities evident in the historical monuments that are focal points across the District of Columbia. Due to the project’s high visibility and nearby proximity to our nation’s capital, the architectural vision embodies a modern, bold and progressive design, while respecting the District of Columbia’s monumental, timeless sense of place.”

MGM National Harbor is organized along a central spine, similar to the National Mall. Abeyta says, “The project is also inspired by grand urban gestures and organizing principles of the L’Enfant and McMillan master plans, evident in the District of Columbia’s radiating streets and strong axial alignments.”

To achieve the design goals, HKS and SmithGroupJJR, architect of record for the project, enlisted multiple metal applications. Metal panels were used for the casino’s roof and soffit, canopies for the casino and hotel, cladding on a theater space and signage. Durable coatings were specified for longevity.

One challenging part of the project was the casino’s roof edge. It has a razor-edged, curvilinear form that curves through all three geometric axes. To produce framework to support the metal cladding, a high level of coordination with the structural steel fabricator, Banker Steel Co., and the company’s 3-D modeling tools, was essential.

For the casino’s roof edge and soffit, MG McGrath Inc. fabricated and installed Arconic Architectural Products LLC’s Reynobond aluminum composite material (ACM) panels in PPG Industries Inc.’s Duranar Kuala White.

Steve Metzger is general manager at Trojan Architectural Coaters Inc., which powder-coated 400 panels for the project. He says there are numerous pieces with angles custom-fit for specific spots on the roof. “There was a tremendous amount of coordination involved with just this portion of the project, but we were able to meet the challenge.”

Abeyta says the roof color was specified for functionality and aesthetics. Its reflectivity met LEED requirements and it resembles the colors of historic monuments in the vicinity. “We specified Kuala White for the curtainwall and composite metal panel for the main roof edge because it was not a typical bone white, but it was not a cool-blue white, either,” Abeyta says.

For the casino’s drop-off canopy, MG McGrath fabricated and installed Reynobond ACM in Duranar Kuala White. For the hotel’s drop-off canopies, the company installed Reynobond ACM in Duranar Platinum Mica III. Duranar Natural Silver was used on panels at the hotel entry canopy.

For a signage structure, Crystal Metalworks Inc. fabricated 1/8-inch-thick perforated sheet metal in Duranar Platinum Mica V and Kuala White. The 3.3 million-square-foot project was completed in December 2016.