Metal Creates Transformative Detailing in Building Interior

Sharp, modern-looking, bright white metal elements carefully integrated into an existing three-story masonry building transformed the interior, according to judges for the 2023 Metal Architecture Design Awards. The metal elements connect with, and contrast with, the building’s existing industrial masonry and wood elements. The judges noted the details are refined, the project is elegant, and recognized the renovation of Spotlight AR (Analyst Relations) LLC’s office building in Kansas City, Mo., with a Design Award in the Interiors category.

Bright white metal elements, skylights and floor openings brighten, modernize interior

By Christopher Brinckerhoff

Photo: Aaron Dougherty

A renovation project brightened the interior of the building. Hermanos Design in Kansas City, accomplished this with multiple strategies including increasing daylighting and adding a series of white metal elements.

Josh Hartman, AIA, architect at Hermanos Design, says, “The main goal in this building was connecting the first and second floors and adding in more natural light. This was achieved by removing two sections of existing concrete floor and adding skylights over those openings. Monolithic concrete floor slabs necessitated strategic floor cuts to connect two levels, flooded with natural light with new metal-wrapped skylights and guardrail panels.”

More specifically, Hermanos Design included three primary metal applications in the design: skylight shrouds, perforated guardrails and a reception sign. “Metal was primarily chosen for its versatility; we featured it in various spaces like the reception desk, primary stair, guardrails and skylight features,” Hartman says. “There were many opportunities for solving problems in elegant ways, and with strong, honest materials using wood, metal and glass.”

Photo: Aaron Dougherty

Transformational Design

In terms of the design transforming an industrial masonry building into a modern office building, adding two skylights was a big move. Hartman says, “The new celebratory stair and floor openings brought new life to the existing, stale interior space. The addition of the skylights deeper into the building also transformed the layout to improve internal spaces with natural lighting.”

Importantly, Hermanos Design designed metal shrouds for the skylights. “The skylights are surrounded with faceted, geometric, aluminum panels that match the same size of the cut openings in the second floor,” Hartman says. “Solid white aluminum panels were chosen for this application to reflect the natural light and contrast against the concrete deck. The powder-coated aluminum panels were selected for the faceted skylight because of their weight, as they are suspended two floors above the walking surface.”

To build the skylight shrouds, Kansas City-based Standard Sheet Metal Inc. fabricated, and Kansas City-based CMC Contractors installed, 500 square feet of 1/8-inch-thick aluminum powder-coated White.

Photo: Aaron Dougherty

Old and New

In relation to integrating new architectural elements with the existing building, masonry, wood and metal elements are interwoven so they enhance each other, Hartman says. “The two primary materials selected were walnut wood and white, powder-coated metal. These materials complemented the existing concrete and masonry structure while still allowing the existing components to stand out. The wood accents helped to soften the harsh lines of the metal work.”

In particular, regarding the perforated guardrails, Hartman says, “The powder-coated white, perforated steel panels were selected for the guardrails to provide an attractive, transparent material, and provide a contrast to the concrete and walnut wood accents.”

To complete the guardrail panels, Standard Sheet Metal fabricated, and Kansas City-based Building Erection Services Co. installed, 490 square feet of 12-gauge steel with custom perforations and powder-coated White.

Organized Spaces

With respect to the building’s floorplan, Hartman says it is designed to create a variety of spaces for different uses. “The program took advantage of generous, open floor space using column grids to establish relationships between communal spaces and private meeting spaces, which are sensitively tuned to mitigate sound transfer and increase privacy,” he says. “The resulting design yielded a contextual and lively space full of warm walnut wood and white metal.”

One notable detail is a custom sign behind a reception desk at the building entrance. Hermanos Design installed an 80-square-foot reception sign with a custom perforation pattern of Spotlight’s logo, fabricated by Standard Sheet Metal. The O-shaped logo is perforated in 1/8-inch-thick aluminum panels, powder-coated Dark Grey and backlit.

“The office functions with more public and interactive spaces on the first level, heads down work and private meetings on the second level and gathering and celebration space on the third level,” Hartman says. “The location of the skylights and floor connections occur deeper into the interior space to draw users through the building. These openings are flanked on either side by twin meeting rooms overlooking the two-story volumes.”

Photo: Aaron Dougherty