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Build In Storm Protection

maxplanckAccording to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), extreme weather is responsible for billions of dollars in damages each year, despite advance warnings. In 2012 alone, more than 935 tornadoes touched down in 46 states and havoc wreaked in 24 after Superstorm Sandy and the mid-Atlantic and Midwest derecho-one of the fastest-moving thunderstorm complexes in U.S. history. Despite new advancements in technology, it has become more difficult to accurately predict the immediate future with so many anomalies. The NOAA is encouraging people to prepare for the worst by understanding the types of hazardous weather that affect the region in which they live and work, and to take actions that will prepare them in the event of a weather disaster.

One approach is to mitigate the potential for property damage by specifying building materials that meet or exceed the Florida Building Code and the Miami-Dade County Building Code for new construction and retrofit projects. Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF) Architects LLP, Washington, D.C., and PGAL LLC, Boca Raton, Fla., designed the LEED-NC 2.2 Gold-certified Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter, Fla., to withstand severe weather conditions. To help meet the code and their programmatic and aesthetic goals, the team specified a combination of Reynobond with KEVLAR composite material, a lightweight aluminum composite material (ACM) paired with the impact-resistant strength of DuPont KEVLAR, and traditional Reynobond ACM for the exterior cladding.

By pairing the two materials, the architectural team was able to achieve both the rational architectural design that was desired by the client and the high level of hurricane protection required to meet the toughest building codes in the country. Reynobond with KEVLAR composite material was specified for all wall panels installed on the building's façade below 30 feet at ground level (AGL). The material enhances the impact resistance of the building envelope in much the same way that KEVLAR works when used as a protective barrier around jet turbine blades on aircraft, where it helps shield passengers from flying debris in an explosion. Reynobond with KEVLAR panels are certified under the Miami-Dade County Building Code to withstand the impact of a 9-pound, 2-by-4 timber traveling at 50 feet per second.

The high strength-to-weight ratio inherent in traditional Reynobond ACM enhanced by the extraordinary high strength of DuPont KEVLAR, which is five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis, makes it possible to install the material over structural steel studs without a heavy substrate while still meeting the Miami-Dade County Hurricane Building Code Notice of Acceptance (NOA) #11-1102 for large-missile impacts over the entire surface of a building. Traditional Reynobond ACM, specified for all coping, soffits and exterior wall panels above 30 feet AGL, is certified by the Miami-Dade County Building Code NOA #10-1118.05 for small- and large-missile impacts for building faces over 30 feet.

To further increase the storm-readiness of the building envelope, the Reynobond panels were installed in a patented rainscreen system engineered by Doralco Architectural Metal Solutions, Alsip, Ill., to meet the Miami-Dade NOA. A water management system, COMPOSITEcore's rout-and-return dry-joint system (CCRS), is engineered to help control the impact of wind-driven rain on exterior walls. The caulk-free design satisfies the small- and large-missile impact requirements and general code specification, as well as provides the architect's desired clean look. According to Doralco general manager Trip Hummel, Reynobond with KEVLAR composite panels are an integral part of the system created to meet the code requirements.

The architecture of the 100,000-square-foot laboratory and office building has a crisp, postmodern aesthetic that incorporates the principles of rational architecture in which all elements serve a purpose. Distinctive window enclosures, large eyebrow soffits, dilution well areas and penetration details were easily achieved with the Reynobond materials. Reynobond with KEVLAR, like traditional Reynobond ACM, can be easily rolled, routed, drilled and fabricated to meet the most complex design specifications, such as angles and curves, while offering a flat, smooth and consistent surface. And it can be ordered in the same extensive color palette, including the Reynobond Design Line faux finishes and PrismFX color-shifting finishes. The Reynobond ACM and Reynobond with KEVLAR panels used on the Max Planck Florida Institute were finished in the same Anodic Clear Colorweld 500 paint finish and blend seamlessly on the façade, imbuing it with a sleek, modern sensibility.

The architectural team was able to achieve some of its most important goals for the Max Planck project by pairing Reynobond with KEVLAR composite material and traditional Reynobond ACM. The integrity of the building envelope will be protected during extreme weather events and the high-tech look of the façade is appropriate for a state-of-the-art scientific research facility. Additionally, the lightweight, flexible Reynobond panels contain a high percentage of recycled material, which also helped to earn points toward LEED certification.


George Rosado is the commercial director at Alcoa

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