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Metal roof panels clad children's museum

Metal roof panels were used to convert a three-story, 14,500-square-foot brick building, originally constructed for Schewels Furniture Co. in downtown Winchester, Va., in the late 1940s, into the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum.

Metal roof panels were used to convert a three-story, 14,500-square-foot brick building, originally constructed for Schewels Furniture Co. in downtown Winchester, Va., in the late 1940s, into the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum. Five small rooftop structures with metal roofs were built to house an elevator, fire stairs, office, small lobby and a shaded pavilion with a stage for events. Additionally, sculptural sunshades supplied by Mesa, Ariz.-based Tenshon LLC stretch across the roof. The renovation project included adding a child-designed community art project to the exterior, an operable glass garage door, Norcross, Ga.-based Kawneer Co. Inc.'s 451 thermally broken storefront windows and a roof deck with landscaped learning gardens.

Winchester-based Reader and Swartz Architects P.C. specified Perth Amboy, N.J.-based Englert Inc.'s 26-gauge Series 1301 1-inch double lock system for the standing seam metal roofs. The panels are 17 inches wide and four of the five roofs are designed with two colors to create stripes. Three of the roofs are clad with matte black and charcoal panels. Additionally, the roof on the pavilion structure with a stage is clad with Galvalume and charcoal panels.

Green fiber cement panels clad the structure housing the fire stairs and elevator. Blue fiber cement panels were installed on the structure with a stairwell inside and a structure in the rear of the roof that houses a bathroom. A small number of metal roof panels were installed flat against the sheathing on the structure with the stairwell; the rest jut out at an angle at the eave, and were intended to create a whimsical, fairytale appearance.

Darwin Anderson, of Anderson Roofing in Winchester, Va., the installer, says a modest amount, about 3,500 square feet, of metal roof panels were used for the project. "It was a unique project in that we had to take a 1950s nondescript commercial building and put a very different and very singular metal roof design on top of it," he says. "Not only was the pitch of each roof pretty dramatic-one even had two different pitches-but the installation was intricate."

Chuck Swartz, principal at Reader and Swartz, says matter-of-fact design solutions were married to whimsy in the building. "This building is filled with wonder and delight; it will make you smile," he says. Swartz says the building seems like it's in a good mood. "The roof has a matter-of-fact feeling like it's going to explode upward and make people happy."

The roof terrace has views of downtown and the Blue Ridge Mountains and the museum rents it out for after-hours events. Swartz says the rooftop area is a good example of how an architect can address a client's need and help the community. "Pushing up the roof has given everyone a chance to talk about what is happening inside the building," he says.

Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum has classrooms, offices, a museum store, an expanded art area with rotating artists-in-residence, the roof terrace and exhibits, which include a full-size Triceratops skeleton, an interactive health center, water play area and hands-on science kitchen where children can perform experiments with a professional scientist's guidance.

Englert Inc., www.englertinc.com

Kawneer Co. Inc., www.kawneer.com

Tenshon LLC, www.tenshon.com