CO Architects topped Cal Poly Pomona’s Student Services Building with an undulating, 2-acre standing-seam aluminum roof that spans two structures totaling 140,000 square feet. Photo courtesy of:

Regardless of what school looks like this year across the nation (and world), the school year is underway for both college and primary levels. In a recent article titled “Gateway to Learning,” ModernMetals took a look at how one university in California realized a decade long dream to build a new Student Services Building. California State Polytechnic University Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona), part of the sprawling state university system, had to work within a tight budget, have it be long-lasting and needed it to be energy efficient. The solution? Aluminum for its high recycled content and the material’s long lasting nature.

To bring the energy usage down as much as possible, CO Architects in Los Angeles devised the roof as the primary performance driver for the building to achieve an advantageous “Energy Use Intensity of 31 (the average at the time of design was 65).” The roof is the building’s primary shading device. The architects used extensive daylight, glare and solar heat-gain analysis models to optimize the roof geometry, minimize energy loads for lighting and cooling, and increase users’ visual and thermal comfort.

CO Architects topped the building with an undulating, 2-acre standing-seam aluminum roof that spans the two structures. The shape and orientation of this feature is driven by performance and function—to optimize energy management, maximize daylight and offer views of the surroundings. The roof design also connects the building to the topography of the campus, the foothills and the nearby San Gabriel Mountains.

Alex Korter, associate principal with CO Architects, Los Angeles says. “The roof acts like a big umbrella. When it gets 100 or 110 degrees in the summer, everybody is looking for shade. We wanted to make sure it protects the building and campus community.”

Bird’s-eye view: The low-maintenance Kalzip roofing system is versatile and can be shaped, according to the architect. Photo courtesy of: ModernMetals

Design & Production of the Complex Roof – 3D, BIM, and On-site Fabricating

While shading the open pedestrian path between the two buildings, the roof’s perforated metal overhangs vary from 5 feet to 28 feet deep to protect the aluminum-framed, reflective glass exterior wall from the sun, filter dappled sunlight and optimize daylight to the interiors.

To achieve the complex curvatures of the Kalzip standing-seam roof, custom-shaped panels were fabricated on site using roll forming machines. The roof required 19,000 attachment clips to keep the panels in place.

The architectural firm uses digital technology, such as 3D and Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools. “This roof is almost impossible to document as a 2D drawing,” remarks Korter. “All the work was done in a 3D modeling environment. Support structures, small members, large members, bends—everything was created in 3D.”

CO Architects partnered with Kalzip as the panel fabricator and CMF Inc., an architectural sheet metal fabricator in Orange, California, as the installer. “We worked with the fabricator collaboratively, and virtually, to optimize the shape and panelization—including straight standing seams, tapered paneling and XT-type, complex compound-curve panels. Each of those has a completely different geometry, and the fabricator took our geometry and extracted each panel shape while establishing the overall layout. That data was then extracted individually and fed directly into three roll form machines on site.”

One machine produced straight-seamed roofing, one specialized in tapered paneling and one produced only XT panels, he says. The digital method generated no printed drawings, with the exception of a topographical map for reference, meaning the process was essentially “completely paperless.”

Having the fabricator perform roll forming on site was very efficient in terms of cost and productivity, according to Korter. “Everything is predesigned in modeling before the coil arrives. We know how much length is needed. Panel lengths and geometries are predetermined.”

The perforation of the aluminum panels that act as overhangs allows for shading but daylight still enters office spaces, saving energy on lighting while still keeping the interiors relatively cool. “That’s partially how this building achieved a LEED Platinum rating. The building consumes less energy mainly because of the roof,” he says.

The architectural firm uses digital technology, such as 3D and Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools. Photo Courtesy of: ModernMetals

ModernMetals is one of METALCON’s media partner and helps to communicate to architects, engineers, contractors, building owners, facility managers and professionals involved in the design-build process domestically and globally.