A single-story strip mall built on an 8-acre site in 1985 in Asheville, NC, had deteriorated to the point where a developer was ready to tear it down and rebuild. Instead the 60,000 square-foot structure–-anchored by a supermarket — was transformed in 2012 into a very attractive corporate office and manufacturing center for AvL Technologies. AvL manufactures mobile satellite communications antennae systems and positioners. Its new corporate office and manufacturing center is now part of an urban village development including contemporary shops, restaurants and residential condominiums. Small shops in the existing building became light-filled offices, and the large grocery and drug store spaces are now dedicated to manufacturing functions. The brick facade, walls, slabs, steel and bar joist structure are all original construction.
The Airolite Look…
The building appears new and designed specifically for its current use, but in reality very little is new. Several design elements featuring custom-engineered Airolite products helped create the new corporate identity desired. Vertical louvers or a brise soleil and perforated aluminum sun controls provide a contemporary and striking visual first impression—adding texture, scaling and detail to the building. A new main public entrance is identified by a sculpture and structural elements that also provide a compositional balance to the louvered façade.
The vertical brise soleil was produced with 12- inch deep extruded aluminum airfoil blades and is supported by adjacent vertical columns. This prominent structure poses bold sight and shadow lines making a dramatic statement with the new façade that reflects the state-of-the-art satellite communications technologies produced within the facility. As a complement to the monumental vertical brise soleil, a horizontal band of sun controls incorporating 0.125″ thick aluminum sheet with ½” diameter round holes spaced 11/16″ on center in a staggered pattern are canted from tube steel supports to provide contrast, texture, scaling and further detail.
The monumental vertical brise soleil shades and protects the entry to the manufacturing space. The perforated sun controls also yield thermal shading and manage glare imposed on the west-facing windows to advance the energy efficiency goals for the renovation. Tube steel structures frame each window opening and provide support for wind and snow-load forces that cannot be accommodated by the original wall construction. The louvers and sun controls were customized to accommodate the architect’s unique design intent.