4 minute read

Powerful Visual Impact

Exterior metal wall panels offer mix-and-matchable profile configurations.

United Therapeutics (UT) is a publicly traded biotech pharmaceutical company as well as a public benefit corporation (PBC). The company’s important work includes pushing for the development of novel pharmaceutical therapies and advancing technologies to make transplantable organs more available.


When the time came to renovate UT’s building in Raleigh, N.C.—the architecture and design team at EwingCole ran into a challenge. The aging building’s existing brick demonstrated areas with considerable wear. Even worse, water had infiltrated in multiple spots leaving the steel lintels damaged.

“United Therapeutics is developing cutting-edge therapies at this R&D Facility,” notes Jennifer Wampler of EwingCole, aia, leed ap, “and requires a building envelope that functions at current codecompliant levels to reduce corrosion and moisture infiltration.”

The existing brick building was constructed without air barriers or even control joints, and corrosion in the brick shelf angles was becoming apparent.


The EwingCole team collaborated with the project’s general contractor, DPR Construction, and an exterior wall panel manufacturer, imetco. The group decided to cover the majority of the exterior wall surface with imetco’s exterior line of Latitude metal wall panels. The aluminum panels provide a powerful visual impact, and the product also provided proven resistance to wind uplift and water infiltration, which was especially important for this project.

Before the panels were installed, in order to prevent future water seepage, a liquid-applied AWB 1-in. mineral wool continuous insulation was installed along with a layer of Z-girts. After the metal wall panel cladding went on, the result was a highperformance back drained and ventilated rainscreen system. Since the Z-girt system runs horizontally as the panels go vertically, the area achieves the proper amount of convection which keeps the wall system adequately dry. The addition of the continuous insulation bolsters the thermal control layer and adds an increased level of sound transmission reduction.

“The system included a liquid-applied Air Infiltration Barrier applied to the brick cladding and corrugated metal panel rainscreen,” added Wampler. “We used the re-cladding opportunity to improve the aesthetics of the facility. By utilizing various width and profiled panels in three colors—light gray, dark gray and orange—this building gained variety and rhythm in a modern color palette.”

The United Therapeutics LOGO also came from imetco. Consisting of waterjet cut aluminum, the unique lung-shaped element was post-painted orange and applied to the face of the panels with high performance VHB Tape.


Available in 12-in. and 16-in. coverage, each creating a 4-in. o.c. pattern, panels install horizontally or vertically and come in a variety of profile options—widths can be seamlessly integrated. Concealed, heavyduty clips and fasteners provide unlimited thermal movement. Precision-edge factory-mitered corners are also available.


Latitude Series

Platinum Silver Gray Velvet

Made from natural stone and recycled content

ROCKWOOL boasts thermal efficiency and fire-resistant properties. The product repels water, stays dimensionally stable and won’t propagate mold growth.


Stone Wool Continuous Insulation www.rockwool.com


A durable architectural wall panel system available with a 0.75-in. or 1-in. reveal joint. This easy-to-install system is ideal for architectural wall and rainscreen applications.


Element Series

Aluminum Panels www.imetco.com

United Therapeutics Corporation

Raleigh, N.C.

Design Team: EwingCole

General Contractor:

DPR Construction

Wall Panel Installer: Metal Roofing Corp

Big Window on Campus

No U.S. college has a larger smart window installation.

Since first opening its doors back in 1972, the Murphy Center has been pulling double duty for Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). The popular venue not only serves as the institution’s primary indoor entertainment facility—it hosts 40 or so annual major events, such as concerts and commencement ceremonies—but the arena is also home to the men’s and the women’s basketball teams.


Blue Raider fans affectionately know the building as the “The Glass House,” and for good reason. The iconic structure’s four-sided glass facade has been an indispensable and distinctive feature since Day 1, but managing the sun’s glare and regulating temperature has proved to be a major battle. Curtains and motorized shades were frequently necessary, and what is the point of having such magnificent views if they remain hidden?

When the time came to modernize the historic facility, the school prioritized keeping the views from the iconic venue as well as its historic visual appeal. But increasing energy efficiency, resourcefulness and sustainability were equally as important.

Known as “The Glass House,” this 1972 structure’s four-sided glass façade has struggled to control glare and solar heat gain.


Smart windows automatically tint and clear by electrical charge to control light and heat. At right: glass is tinted; at left: glass is in a clear state.

BEFORE Curtains and motorized shades were necessary before modernizing the facility.

Murphy Center, Middle Tennessee State University

Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Design Team: ESa

PRODUCT SPECS: SageGlass Classic, 33,000 sq. ft.

SageGlass www.sageglass.com



The biophilic benefits resulting from expansive views of the outdoors are well documented—less stress and a general increased sense of wellbeing. But buildings featuring expansive walls of windows can present significant solar-control challenges. SageGlass offers solutions, and architecture teams around the nation are taking advantage.

Electrochromic glass smart windows by SageGlass use smart technology to automatically optimize daylight and regulate temperature. The dynamic glass tints and clears in order to optimize itself to handle external solar conditions and provide interior comfort. If programmed to do so, SageGlass smart windows will even anticipate weather changes via smart functionality, thus the structure won’t need to play catch up after an abrupt weather change. Facility managers can override any of the options to provide a different desired set of results.

The striking installation of SageGlass at MTSU’s Murphy Center has heads turning on campus. The renovation includes 33,000 sq.-ft. of SageGlass smart windows and is commonly referred to as “the largest installation of dynamic glass in higher education in the United States.”

This article is from:
Cover of "Architectural Products - March/April 2023"

Architectural Products - March/April 2023

by Buildings & Construction Group