Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture incorporated metal building systems, metal roofs and metal walls in a variety of colors to create modern, industrial aesthetics for Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s 40-acre campus: PG&E Gas Safety Academy.
The exteriors of the buildings are color coordinated with PG&E’s logo, which is blue, white and yellow. There are blue metal wall panels and bright yellow endwalls on the Transmission and Distribution Building and Weld Lab Building, which are recessed to expose structural frames and provide weather protection over entrances.
Brian Lefholz, project designer at Dreyfuss + Blackford, says, “The pre-engineered metal buildings were designed to highlight the structural frames and used custom colors to help with wayfinding and client’s corporate branding. We worked closely with the pre-engineered metal building fabricator to create unique system of details to achieve a heightened architectural visual and user experience.”
The 105,500-square-foot project encompasses three buildings: the main building, called the Learning Center, Transmission and Distribution Building and Weld Lab Building. A classroom/administrative wing in the Learning Center is oriented east/west to take advantage of light from the north; the entrance is on the north side of the building as well. The Transmission and Distribution Building and Weld Lab Building are oriented north/south with entrances facing west, where a path connects them to the Learning Center.
The Learning Center is a concrete tilt-up building with metal wall panels at the entrance and mechanical screen on the exterior. It houses 10 training classrooms and three lab classrooms, an open dining area, open office space, and lobby with a display of damaged natural gas pipe.
To the east of the Learning Center, Quality Erectors and Construction Inc. built the Transmission and Distribution Building with Garco Building Systems’ metal building system. It has two classrooms and three labs for plastic fusion pipe fitting, utility workers and industrial safety training at heights.
To the south of the Transmission and Distribution Building, Quality Erectors and Construction built the Weld Lab Building with Garco Building Systems’ metal building system. It contains spaces for teaching pipe welding with a large lab space housing 16 student weld booths and six stations for recertification of journeyman in-field welders.
On the Learning Center’s circulation spine and at entries/exits on all three buildings, B.T. Mancini Co. Inc. installed AEP Span’s 24-gauge TW-12 metal wall panels with a galvanized finish. Jason Silva, design principal at Dreyfuss + Blackford, says, “We used a galvanized profile metal to highlight the location of the main circulation spine of the building. This form also denoted the location of the two main building entries.”
Silva says they also used galvanized profiled metal for its durability, and unique and raw industrial appearance. “We chose an aluminum panel system at the entries because of its refined design and construction which helped create an elegance to the entry, juxtaposing the modern industrial feel of the overall project.”
On the Transmission and Distribution Building and Weld Lab Building, Quality Erectors and Construction installed MBCI’s PBR metal wall panels in Blue. On canopies at entrances/exits on the Learning Center, B.T. Mancini fabricated and installed Quality Metalcrafts LLC’s Americlad AC-3000 aluminum plate in custom Kynar Blue. The entrances/exits also feature angled walls that create dynamic forms. To build them, B.T. Mancini installed of Quality Metalcrafts’ Americlad 0.125-inch-thick, corrugated, horizontal aluminum wall panels with a Zincalume finish.
Dreyfuss + Blackford extended metal elements into the buildings, in part, for wayfinding. “Those entries were further highlighted by an aluminum panel system that has a unique shape on the exterior which extended to the interior, creating easy wayfinding to the main entry/exits of the buildings,” Silva says.
Additionally, Lefholz says, “In the interior environment, we left the metal deck and structure exposed in the circulation corridors to allow for higher volumes and more daylight into the spaces.”