Charleston Gaillard Center, Charleston, S.C.
After scrutinizing various cladding materials, Thermocromex, a limestone plaster cladding, was chosen for the building’s exterior. Stucco has been a chosen material for Charleston’s buildings since a major earthquake in 1886 after which stucco was called upon to cover up cracks in brick buildings. “Because limestone is softer than Portland cement, it allows for more movement without cracking … and no need for control joints. Control joints are okay for maintenance but not for aesthetics,” explains Steve Knight, design architect with David M. Schwarz Architects. “They would produce an undesirable, negative impact on the design. That’s one main reason we selected Thermocromex.”
Knight continues: “Additionally, Thermocromex’s integral color offers slight variation, which is great for the coverage of such a large building, offering a slightly mottled appearance that adds warmth and visual interest.”
Thermocromex can be applied to virtually any substrate, including CMU, frame/sheathing, tilt wall, poured-in-place concrete and lightweight blocks/cement. It addresses movement and vapor- and moisture-barrier issues.
To ensure the product application was perfect, the supplier’s technical staff traveled to Charleston and trained applicators from Horus Construction.
Cladding Material Manufacturer: Southwest Progressive Enterprises Inc.
A massive new construction and renovation project “stripped” the 1968 Gaillard Municipal Auditorium and subsequently built the new center on its former framework. The “new construction” surrounds three sides of the original building, offering a classic public structure and exquisite outdoor spaces.
Plans for the $142 million project included a performance hall not unlike old European opera houses, a user-friendly convention center and various municipal offices. Groundbreaking for the renovation and expansion of the facility took place in August 2012. The project was completed at the end of summer 2015.
“This actually started out as a small-scale renovation project,” Knight recalls. “The city wanted to make the building bigger and expand it with a music hall, city offices, administration and hospitality/banquet facilities. Turning the Gaillard into a modern, state-of-the-art, multiuse building while making it feel appropriately compatible with the surrounding neighborhood was a major mandate. Some of the features of the original building were grandfathered, including the stage house, which exceeded the height limit allowed by current zoning.”
PHOTO: Southwest Progressive Enterprises Inc.