Metal Architecture Home

A Prominent Office Building

Innovative design intent meets strict building codes

Hendrick1 Nov18 Case Study

Accesso is a modern and innovative office building that spearheads the surge of recent development in Hallandale Beach, Fla. It sits prominently on a main roadway that gives direct access to Fort Lauderdale or Miami, so capitalizing on this exposure and maximizing the attention of potential onlookers was a high priority.

The Venezuelan architect’s intention was to leverage a panel system that would be offset from the glazing on the westward-facing curtainwall to perform as a sunshade, but must also feature a seamless and one-of-a-kind design. Concern for obstructing the building occupants’ views was also voiced. However, being located in a hurricane-prone area can bring up obstacles when attempting to meet an architect’s design intent.

A complete system needed to be designed and engineered to comply with stringent building codes, and in this case, specifically for coastal projects in South Florida with high exposure requirements. A decorative element outside of the building envelope must withstand high wind load pressures and require an engineer to present thorough calculations that prove it will not be pulled off the building during a hurricane.

Through several preliminary studies and discussions with the manufacturer and structural engineers, it was conclusive that the system would need to be substantial. The panels, from Hendrick Architectural, Elgin, Ill., needed to be fabricated from a heavy 3/8-inch-thick aluminum that would permit a 50-inch span between fastening points along the vertical edges. Flat panels were ideal to eliminate panel margins and bring the perforations close to the horizontal edges allowing for the seamless applique. Each panel pattern needed to be designed around CNC press capabilities. A 3-inch round perforation was selected to achieve ultimate visibility for the building occupants at eye level while sitting and standing.

Eight custom patterned panels are attached on an assembly that cantilevers off the curtainwall using vertical posts that mirror the mullion spacing. Large, 4-inch by 8-inch aluminum tubes with 1/4-inch walls were selected for the sub-framing that carry the weight of the 84-inch-tall panel, as well as the forces brought on by wind pressures that the assembly would endure. Around the perimeter, 2-inch by 2-inch aluminum tubes with 1/8-inch walls were used to enclose and aesthetically frame the screen.

A high-quality Kynar paint from PPG Industries Inc., Pittsburgh, in a pearlescent white color, was selected for the finish on all the system components. This PVDF coating would offer the building owner the durability required to meet South Florida’s harsh environment with westward-facing sun and coastal salt spray exposure, for years to come.

Getting involved with the project at the start of design development allowed for a collaboration between the manufacturer and architect that proactively brought the project over necessary hurdles. Compliances that when not met or handled properly can cause negative consequences throughout construction or after completion.

Understanding the design intent and sharing knowledge of manufacturing and perforating capabilities provided a solution that brought the architect’s vision to life. Most importantly, providing a complete and compliant system and service that brought confidence to those involved in the project throughout design and construction phase. All parties shared the same ultimate goal—a beautiful, quality and sturdy perforated screen that will last the life of the building.

Patricia Hoffman is a project manager at Miami-based FORMAS Inc., an independent manufacturer’s representative that assists the architectural and design community with solutions for specialty finishes in Florida. For more information on Hendrick Architectural, Elgin, Ill., visit