PROJECT: The Sharpsburg Community Library

Photo ©2015 Ed Massery

Previously a one-story concrete block building, the Sharpsburg Community Library in Sharpsburg, Pa., is now a vivid, multi-colored facility that has become a highlight of the town. The architectural design, by Front Studio Architects in Pittsburgh, features an exterior of bold geometric shapes and bright colors.

“Color is the easiest button to push to get an emotional response,” says Front Studio principal Art Lubetz.

Photo ©2015 Ed Massery

Front Studio initially was hired to design an addition on the back of the existing library building. “But it was such an unattractive structure that we just couldn’t do it. So we came up with the idea of literally surrounding the building with simple, elemental blocks that would be individually colored so that we would have this pulsating, dynamic structure,” Lubetz says.

Approximately 2,600 square feet of PAC-CLAD 7/8-inch corrugated panels in five different colors was just what the design team was looking for. The .032-inch aluminum panels were finished in copper penny, silver, cardinal red, award blue and patina green.

The decision to use metal as the primary exterior façade material was made fairly early in the design process. “As soon as we knew we wanted the building to be colorful, metal became the obvious choice for the exterior,” Lubetz says. “We had an extremely minimal budget for the project. PAC-CLAD corrugated metal would be the most economical, long-lasting material we could use. We got involved with Petersen because we like their colors. The contractor bid it out and the price was right.”

General contractor Franjo Construction installed the metal panels. Project manager Skip Stein likes the look of the new building. “It certainly sets itself apart from the other construction in the area. It’s almost an amusement park appearance that the kids really like. The architect really did a nice job of mixing and matching the colors,” Stein said.

The Petersen distributor on the project was Brock Associates in Pittsburgh.


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