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Forge Rebuilds with Metal


Photo: Denmarsh Photography, Alexander Denmarsh

A metal building system houses manufacturing, retail store and administrative operations

A U.S. manufacturing and retail business that has produced handmade ornamental giftware in aluminum and other metals since 1923 rebuilt a multipurpose facility with a metal building system after its flagship location was destroyed by a fire in March 2010. Wendell August Forge set new manufacturing process goals and objectives, and wanted to streamline operations in its new facility. The company constructed a single, customized, contiguous pre-engineered building to house its manufacturing, retail store and administrative operations in Grove City, Pa. The 60,000-square-foot facility was completed in September 2013. The 2015 Metal Architecture Design Award judges said the project embodied the metal buildings category because it evokes how much can be done with a metal building.

West Middlesex, Pa.-based Wesex Corp. provided financing assistance, grant procurement and administration, pre-construction, land acquisition and development, design-build and self-performed general construction services for the $8 million project. "The decision to build a single, continuous facility in lieu of constructing individual buildings for each function provided considerable cost savings to the owner and obvious challenges to the design team," says Greg Koledin, president and CEO at Wesex Corp. "In addition, since metal structures can be designed with a range of covering systems, this option proved versatile for designing each area of the building befitting its use."

Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor Building Systems supplied its Composite CFR Standing Seam Roof System for the building. The project utilized Nucor Building Systems' pre-engineering metal building system, which included a 160- by 80-foot single-slope structure for retail space connected to a 180- by 226-foot structure with stone piers, Classic Wall Panel in White and a 226-foot architectural sign band on the exterior of the manufacturing area.

The retail area features thin brick and rough-cut lumber along the walls, exposed ductwork and other details reminiscent of a rustic barn. Additionally, the exterior of the retail area features cement lap-siding and trim, white aluminum storefront framing, three dormers to let in natural light and a decorative metal sign tower. "While these materials appear authentic to the naked eye, the design-build team used well-assembled synthetic brick and stone to keep costs in line with the budget," Koledin says.

Photo: Denmarsh Photography, Alexander Denmarsh

The office space reflects a modern atmosphere with floor-stained concrete, exposed spiral ductwork and large breakout areas for teamwork. "On the interior, the design needed to capture an open work environment within the office space, an unin- terrupted and sensible process flow for the manufacturing space, and a welcoming and engaging space for the retail store," Koledin says. Metal provided options for exposed structural steel, bar joist and deck for a modern aesthetic in the office and retail spaces. "The owner required a flexible, open floor plan with a rustic yet stylish design aesthetic for the new facility," he adds.

The manufacturing area features stone piers and an exterior insulation and finishing system (EIFS) sign band on the exterior. Nucor Building Systems' ClearBay Roof Joist System was used to minimize interior column obstructions in the manufacturing and distribution space so it would function as open and freely as possible. Custom cells to accommodate the work of artisans and craftsmen were connected to their specific raw materials area to promote efficiency and increase productivity throughout the manufacturing space.

Wendell August Forge, Grove City, Pa.

Completed: September 2013

Total square footage: 60,000 square feet

Architect of record: Desmone & Associates Architects, Pittsburgh,

Architect of retail/office space: Herschman Architects, Cleveland,

Developer/design-builder/general contractor: Wesex Corp., West Middlesex, Pa.,

Installer: Ferguson-Greenville Steel Inc., Greenville, Pa.,

Metal building system: Nucor Building Systems, Charlotte, N.C.,