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Readiness Accelerated

Light-infused HQ facilitates collaboration and reflects corporate identity

Logicore March18 2

Readiness accelerated. This is Huntsville, Ala.- based LogiCore Corp.’s slogan and how the company wanted its new 40,000-square-foot facility to be reflected. Not only did this logistics and information technology firm want its new headquarters to reflect its identity, but also provide creative and compelling spaces to meet and work. An interesting request, but one that architects at Montgomery, Ala.-based Chambless King Architects were ready to take on.

“I think what is unique is that it is a very experiential building,” says Nick Henninger, project manager at Chambless King Architects. “Throughout the design process, we imagined the building less as an object in the landscape, than as volumes that you move around and through, experiencing from an intimate vantage point. I think this came naturally because the building program created an inherently linear diagram. The ground level of the primary building is a series of amenity, event and office blocks linked by a long volume of lobby, gallery and pre-function spaces. This is mirrored along the exterior with a walkway linking the front entry to the event plaza overlooking a large green space and pond. It was these linear interior and exterior progressions that led us to want to employ subtle geometries that would be experienced best by moving around and through them.”

To make the building form more dynamic, the second floor cantilevers over the lobby on one side, but the lobby projects past the second floor on the adjacent side, so Henninger says it feels as if these volumes are slipping past one another. “As you walk along the south side from this entry to the event plaza, this lobby/gallery volume angles subtly out to realign with the upper floor,” he adds.

Stretching out over 9 acres of waterfront property, the facility includes state-of-the-art private and collaborative offices, secure conferencing, engineering facilities and conference center. The conference center includes a 200-seat event space with food service facilities and a 100-seat lecture hall, both with full audio/visual capabilities, and both overlook the courtyard and 10-acre lake. Other facility amenities include a fitness center and employee kitchen and break areas.

The client’s program required two separate buildings: the primary building is the main corporate headquarters and a smaller, secondary 10,000-square-foot breakout facility can be used as part of the facility for special team projects or leased out to other firms. Henninger wanted these two buildings to share similar language but still be distinct. Together, along with the boundary of the pond, they enclose a large green space. 4Site, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and SSOE, Downers Grove, Ill., were consultants for the project. The general contractor was Fite Building Co. Inc., Decatur, Ala. Oxford, Ala.-based FabArc Steel Supply Inc. supplied the structural steel.

Steel construction was chosen because it allowed Chambless King Architects to utilize large cantilevers and angular geometries in developing the building. Large expanses of glass were essential to the project and were made possible by the steel structural system, the curtainwall and storefront systems, much of which was steel reinforced. The architects also liked the aesthetic of exposed steel structure, which was used on both interior and exterior elements.


The exterior cladding materials also make the building unique, especially for its geographic location and context in Huntsville. Metal cladding fit with the aesthetic appropriate for a progressive and innovative tech company like LogiCore. “Sustainability and life-cycle costs, which the client greatly valued and prioritized, guided us to the decision to use zinc as the primary cladding system for the building,” Henninger says. “We also wanted other contrasting materials that we could use to clearly define the geometries of the building. We liked the idea of wood as a warm compliment to the zinc, but maintenance and life cycle considerations deterred us from choosing natural wood. Instead we used Longboard Products’ (a division of Langley, British Columbia, Canada-based Mayne Inc.) aluminum soffit and siding that is printed to look like natural wood, and we were very pleased with the results.” Zinc is the primary cladding of the building. It was used for both its aesthetics and for the fact that it is a very sustainable and long-lasting material that relies on natural patina instead of an applied finish or coating.

Pre-patina zinc product from Umicore Building Products USA Inc., Raleigh, N.C., was used in two colors: natural VMZINC quarts-zinc for the primary cladding, and a dark patina, VMZINC anthra-zinc for accents and smaller forms. “Vertical standing seam installation for the primary cladding reduced the potential for oil canning, but also added a nice scale and pattern to the façade,” says Henninger. “We chose various standing seam panel widths to give the vertical pattern rhythm and keep it from feeling monotonous, and we used the strong horizontal joints to reinforce the composition of fenestrations in the façade, especially along the north elevation.” The Longboard aluminum soffit and siding (printed to look like wood) paired well with the zinc, and highlighted the underside of the cantilevered volumes. It also wrapped the portal-frame entries around the buildings.

Glass compliments the zinc cladding. “We chose a rear-captured system to achieve smooth expanses of glass uninterrupted by exterior vertical mullions,” Henninger says. “This was a great contrast to the visual depth of the standing seam pattern of the zinc cladding.” The storefront system is Kawneer’s TF451T Trifab SSG and the curtainwall system is Kawneer’s 1600 system SSG.

The zinc cladding and aluminum soffits aid in low maintenance, durability, recyclability and life cycle costs. The glass curtainwall provides natural daylighting. The primary building is oriented with its long axis facing north/south for optimal daylighting, as well as for prime views of the water and surrounding landscape. A combination of overhangs, vertical projections and the makeup of the insulated glass units take advantage of the natural light while protecting from excess heat gain. Energy-efficient lighting and occupancy sensors also contribute to the sustainability of the project. Houston-based MBCI provided a standing seam metal roof.


Duncanville, Ala.-based Metal Roofing Solutions Inc. was the installer for the roofing, zinc wall panels and metal soffit panels. “We enjoyed working with the zinc panels and had no difficulties,” says Bobbie Smith Jr., president of Metal Roofing Solutions. “We built mock-ups on-site and went over every key detail with every member of our install team. Since we worked out all details on mock-up, the actual install was very smooth. The zinc materials and pre-finished metal soffit appeared like real wood. The pre-finished aluminum soffit with wood grain appearance was tricky. Since the cost is approximately $36 per square foot your estimate must be right on. We also had to order without field measurements because of the lead times. The J trim for this material had less than a 3/8-inch pocket, so cuts had to be precise. We had some very long tapering cuts on one section that created more difficulties with this cut.”

Henninger says one challenge for designers was that the facility really had no back to it. “It lies on a corner site facing two streets, and the back of the site is the connection to the large pond,” he says. “We had to screen any mechanical or generator equipment from view and design all elevations as front façades.”

Another challenge was pairing the two-story primary building with the one-story secondary building; mainly in terms of the primary building overlooking the roof of the secondary building. “We decided to use an aesthetically pleasing standing seam roof on the secondary building and play with the geometry of the roof to respond to views from the primary building,” Henninger says. The LogiCore design has met with recognition and positive response. It won a 2017 Huntsville Beautification Award scoring a 100 percent in six categories and also received a 2017 Award of Merit from the Alabama Council of the American Institute of Architects.