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EKO Depot, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Metal buildings helped convert a tennis club into a large hardware store in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. EKO Depot has four connected buildings, two built with metal building systems, one with concrete. The fourth is an existing concrete building that was reinforced and incorporated into the complex.

The two metal buildings are the largest of the four and house retail and storage space. The smallest building, built with concrete, vertically connects the retail building to the storage building, which are at different floor elevations.

To the north of the two metal buildings and new concrete building, the existing concrete building was converted from the tennis club’s offices to new office space and a cafeteria. The existing structure did not contain any earthquake resisting elements and would have been prone to failure, should it have been subject to severe earthquake waves. To mitigate this condition, GF Construction SA, general contractor for the project, added shear concrete walls, closed off a few window openings and added some columns in strategic areas. The space was then redistributed based on the new office requirements.

The small concrete building that connects the retail and storage buildings contains office space, an accounting office and elevators. It vertically integrates the two structures and the elevators are used to transport goods from the warehouse to the showroom.

The project presented some design and construction challenges due to the site’s multiple elevations. Three tennis courts were set at different elevations to adapt to the slant of the property. To mitigate costs, Borrell y Franco, the architecture firm for the project, placed the retail and storage buildings to also follow the property’s contour lines.

The retail and existing office buildings were constructed at the same elevation, and the storage building was raised approximately 10 feet above that elevation. The storage building’s elevation facilitates traffic from the front entrance gates and a slanted street.

The metal building systems for the retail and storage buildings were supplied by Star Building Systems. The 22,500-square-foot retail building has a 3,016-square-foot mezzanine. The top of the mezzanine is 5 feet above ground level and provides space to display outdoor furniture. Outside, below the mezzanine, is parking space that extends to the main parking lot, which is 10 feet below the mezzanine.

The 8,867-square-foot storage building also has a mezzanine with a large, rectangular opening. New Millennium Building Systems LLC supplied its bar joists and metal decking for both mezzanines.

Borrell y Franco designed the retail building with a metal-clad, notched corner that gives it a modern appearance. To clad inside the corner, GF Construction installed Star Building Systems’ steel tubular sections and 3,700 square feet of Star Building Systems’ 42-inch-wide, fluted, insulated metal panels (IMPs) in Ash Gray.

At the retail building’s main elevation, 6-foot by 6-foot windows were inserted in the IMPs. Additionally, the entrance door features glass and aluminum picture frames, which create a structural and architectural transition between the metal and concrete buildings.

For roofs on the retail and storage buildings, GF Construction installed 33,460 square feet of Star Building Systems’ 26-gauge Galvalume Plus PBR panels with a natural finish. For walls on the retail and storage buildings, GF Construction installed 9,076 square feet of Star Building Systems’ 26-gauge PBR panels in Ash Gray.

The retail building is air-conditioned. To insulate its roof and walls, Therm-All Inc. supplied its 9 1/2-inch-thick Optiliner BLS32 insulation. To insulate the storage building’s roof, Therm-All supplied its 3/4-inch-thick Reflect–R insulation. For the storage building’s walls, GF Construction installed Therm-All’s 3-inch-thick PSK-VR insulation.

For the exterior of the existing office building, GF Construction installed stonework and 3,700 square feet of 3A Composites USA Inc.’s Alucobond metal composite material panels in Blue. Construction began in April 2014 and the project was completed in August 2015.