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Retail store converted into college campus

Photo: Casey Dunn
Photo: Casey Dunn

Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects specified a variety of metal building products to convert a former retail store into a light-filled Austin Community College Highland Campus in Austin, Texas, in phase one of the development. Austin Community College purchased the entire 1.2 million-square-foot Highland Mall. Phase one encompassed a 207,000-square-foot retail store and phase two will renovate approximately 400,000 square feet of the body of the mall. Phase one was completed in August 2014.

Highland Mall, which opened in 1971, was a series of large featureless boxes with few windows. Shading devices for large windows that were cut were created with a steel porch and custom metal Austin Community College logos. Additionally, fabricated Austin Community College star logos provide shading for large expanses of glass at the entrances. The carbon plate steel cladding is a backdrop for interior signage at entrances to the building.

The flat-lock metal wall panels on the building's exterior were also used on the building's interior to create a sense of cohesiveness. The patterned metal on the north side of building was used to create texture on a blank exterior surface. Metal was used to express exposed building materials, transform the exterior and interior appearances of the building, provide shade and shelter around the perimeter, and reinforce the community college district's brand.

Phase one utilized 23,000 square feet of 22-gauge, acrylic-coated Galvalume Flat-lock metal wall panels supplied by Metal-Tech USA for the interior and exterior. Approximately 1,800 square feet of 3/16-inch aluminum wall/ green screen with a laser-cut C-6 Pattern, sanded and clear anodized, supplied by BOK Modern, were installed on the north side of the building.

Additionally, Sarabi Studio supplied 570 square feet of 16-gauge CARBON Plate Steel Cladding that was blackened and waxed for the entry signage walls. Capital Architectural Signs Inc. fabricated Austin Community College star logos for exterior signage with approximately 35 sheets of 4-foot by 8-foot by 0.125-inch aluminum and 25 sheets of 4-foot by 8-foot by 0.06-inch aluminum with a sanded finish, clear primer and satin clear coat.

Austin Community College purchased the 80-acre property and began a multi-phased, public-private partnership to build an academic campus that would ultimately be completely surrounded by mixed-use development.

Owner: Austin Community College District, Austin, Texas

Developer: RedLeaf Properties LLC, Austin

Development master planner: Adams Studio, Austin

Architect: Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects, Austin

General contractor: Flintco, Austin

Fabricator: Metal-Tech USA, Peachtree City, Ga.,

Signage fabricator: Capital Architectural Signs Inc., Austin,

Steel cladding: Sarabi Studio, Austin,

Wall screen: BOK Modern, San Francisco,