Metal Architecture Metal Architecture

Metal Architecture

February 2010

Artistic Shade Screen Is Key Component of Building’s Design

The artistic shade screen on the new state-of-the-art Science and Humanities building at the Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, Calif., offers a pleasing break from the ordinary for students looking through it and passers-by looking at it.

The curved screen, made of perforated Kalzip aluminum panels from Kalzip Inc., Michigan City, Ind., is a key design component of the 54,000-square-foot building that includes classrooms, a library, science and laboratory facilities, and a student center. The screen encloses one side of a 350-foot outdoor passageway connecting the new facilities and providing an exciting social space for students as they move between classes. Completed in April 2008, the three-story structure sits over a 41,000-square-foot on-grade parking garage.

The architect of record, Parallax Associates Inc., Culver City, Calif., created the new master plan for the upper campus that serves grades 7 through 12 of the independent coeducational school serving more than 900 students on two campuses overlooking the San Fernando Valley.

The Kalzip material was chosen for its ability to reflect heat from the mostly southern exposure, in addition to buffering the wind and providing security. The screen is formed from Kalzip 64/400 perforated 0.04-aluminum material with a 6-8 pattern. Kalzip 65/305 solid 0.04-aluminum was used for the parapet at the top of the screen. Both materials have a metallic silver coating.

“The code requires a specific density of fabric or material to be approved for use as a guardrail. The perforated Kalzip was a good candidate because it’s a consistent fabric yet you can still see though it. It met code [2007 California Building Code, Section 1013, Guards] and eliminated the need for a separate guard rail element,” said Principal Craig Jameson, AIA, who served and project principal and co-designer with firm Principal John Masotta, who served as the project architect. Del Amo Construction Inc., Torrance, Calif., was general contractor for the project. “The perforated panels were installed horizontally to create the screen,” said Curt Jennings, project manager. Progressive Roofing, Oxnard, Calif., installed the panels.

According to Jameson and Jennings, the patterned openings in the screen frame the fantastic views of the San Fernando Valley. For students and other using the corridor, the setting is one that encourages them to take time out to enjoy the scenery.

Functionally, the screen protects the corridor, which is on the exterior of the building that faces southeast with a stronger orientation to the south. The architects’ decision to place the corridor on the exterior and shade it was based on their sustainable design approach.

“Many schools would have put the corridor inside the building and air conditioned it, which would increase energy costs. Keeping it on the exterior and shading it will provide substantial energy savings over the life of the building because the aluminum screen will reduce heat gain,’ Jameson said.

The building has several sustainable features, such as on-site water infiltration, operable sash windows, natural lighting, the use of renewable and recyclable materials, and decentralized air conditioning. Each room has its own air conditioning so occupants can turn the system on or off as needed, and energy won’t be wasted on unoccupied rooms.

“The goal for this campus was to be a 21st century educational flagship. We’re about the future and this was a good place to show it because the site is fairly open and on a hillside,” Jameson noted. “A four-lane highway curves in front of it, so this dynamic element on the building has a lot of visibility. As we work on the other buildings on this campus we’ll use Kalzip wherever we can to keep the design consistent.”