Aluminum Panels Beautify a Nondescript Metal Building

Facade updated with aluminum panels

Before: KaTom purchased a metal building for its new headquarters but desired an updated look to reflect its corporate culture.

Before: KaTom purchased a metal building for its new headquarters but desired an updated look to reflect its corporate culture.

A nondescript headquarters was not the image restaurant supply company KaTom was looking to portray when it moved to Kodak, Tenn. The company’s representatives, therefore, set out to reimagine the 2005 log-home-manufacturing facility they purchased to serve as the firm’s new headquarters. A Dri-Design Wall Panel System helped achieve the team’s goal by creating a welcoming structure reflective of the company culture and purpose.

Under the lead of architectural firm R2R Studio LLC, Knoxville, Tenn., KaTom personnel reviewed photos of previous Dri-Design projects to discover the versatility of the panel profiles, available configurations and color offerings. The team wanted to add dimension to the original metal building, inviting customers and employees to the site. Dri-Design 0.080-inch aluminum panels were manufactured in three colors—Copperwire, Dovetail and Gauntlet Gray—to create a corporate presence. Dri-Design made the mixing of panel sizes and colors uncomplicated.

Dri-Design 0.080-inch aluminum panels were manufactured in three colors—Copperwire, Dovetail and Gauntlet Gray—to create a corporate presence.

Dri-Design 0.080-inch aluminum panels were manufactured in three colors—Copperwire, Dovetail and Gauntlet Gray—to create a corporate presence.

“The shop drawing review process is critical and very helpful when working with patterns, colors and a variety of panel sizes on a building,” says Lisa Bengston, AIA, LEED AP, with R2R Studio.

Brad Zeeff, president of Dri-Design, adds: “Our team is always focused on delivering a top quality product. A vital aspect of this includes supporting the design and construction team through the specification and installation processes. This customer service, from start to finish, is a core attribute of Dri-Design.”

R2R Studio was attracted to the aluminum panel system because of the panels’ aesthetic appeal, functionality and technological advancements. Ease of installation also made the list. “The Dri-Design panels were able to be installed over the existing metal building facade, lowering the risk of exposing the occupied offices inside to water penetration,” Bengston says. “This method meant that the occupied offices inside suffered minimal disruption during the construction of the new facade.”

A plywood substrate and air barrier were fastened to the building before the Dri-Design panels were installed over the existing vertical ribbed metal panels.

A plywood substrate and air barrier were fastened to the building before the Dri-Design panels were installed over the existing vertical ribbed metal panels.

Rhett Coleman, LEED AP, senior project manager with general contractor Blaine Construction Corp., Knoxville, noted the panels were quick and easy to install. A plywood substrate and air barrier were fastened to the building before the Dri-Design panels were installed over the existing vertical ribbed metal panels. Keith Edmondson Construction, Knoxville, installed 3,877 square feet of the Dri-Design panels. Stone veneer and EIFS complete the exterior look.

The Dri-Design panels clad a new 2-story lobby and entrance that add a dramatic effect to the building. An observation tower in the lobby is accessible via a spiral staircase. Interior spaces were reconfigured and remodeled to accommodate additional offices; a five-bay loading dock; more warehouse space; and Chef Supplies by KaTom, a retail store that is open to the public. When KaTom employees want to take meetings outside, they now can gather on first-floor porticos and second-floor balconies that were added on each side of the building.

“When the folks at R2R Studio first showed me the Dri-Design panels, I knew instantly it would be the perfect complement to the plan we had for our new headquarters,” KaTom Founder, CEO and President Patricia Bible notes. “Still, I could not have imagined how magnificent the final product would be. What we have now is a building that is both welcoming to customers and befitting a company that is a leader in its industry. And the fact that we were able to move in and start work in our new home while the panels were being installed was a huge selling point for me.”

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