Developers of the new Shoppes of St. Johns wanted something a bit more architectural than a run-of-the-mill strip mall in their plans for the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., shopping center. So, designers with the Jacksonville, Fla., firm of Dasher Hurst Architects offered up a tiered design clad in a modernist mix of materials.
Metal panels play a key role in this effort, adding an industrial edge to the sand and brown earth tones that predominate across the façade. So, designers with the Jacksonville, Fla., firm of Dasher Hurst Architects offered up a tiered design clad in a modernist mix of materials. Metal panels play a key role in this effort, adding an industrial edge to the sand and brown earth tones that predominate across the façade.
“It was good to have the metal panels for that—they have some texture and shadow lines,” says Glenn Dasher, AIA, Dasher Hurst’s principal and co-founder, adding that he’s seeing growing interest in bringing this more urban look into suburban locations. “It seems like people are more responsive to that, in a positive way, than they were in the past.”
In total, the 42,000-square-foot development encompasses 26,000 square feet of retail space and 16,000 square feet of offices. To address its site aside the busy U.S. 1, Dasher’s team also had to ensure the retail strip incorporated enough architectural interest to catch the eyes of passing motorists. Along with the variety of cladding materials, designers also used massing to break up what otherwise could have been a monotonous run of storefronts.
“It’s a shopping center, so there’s kind of a standard type—a long, tall, one-story building,” Dasher says. “So, we broke it up into the tower elements. They had an anchor tenant in Ace Hardware taking up the corner, so we made that the taller tower, with the others as secondary accents.”
More than just one-dimensional parapets, the towers add depth to the structure. To boost visibility in the evenings, their glassed-in tops are illuminated at night to act as beacons for potential shoppers.
Some 3,400 square feet of Precision Series HWP panels from Petersen’s PAC-CLAD line were incorporated as accents at both corners, and to punctuate storefronts on either side of the building’s towers. The Weathered Zinc-finished panels are installed to create a strong horizontal element as a counterpoint to the towers. Corners are finished with edge metal fabricated from Petersen’s sheet-metal product line.
“I like the way it frames the panels,” Dasher says of this corner-trim treatment. “It’s almost like thinking about a wood panel, with the edge to it.”
A Thorne Does the Side
Thorne Metal Systems of Jacksonville installed the panels. Cody Thorne, the company’s office manager, notes that anchor tenant Ace Hardware liked the look of the panels so much that they requested the material be extended beyond the architects’ original plans.
“In the drawings, they’d only specified the panels for three-quarters of the building,” Thorne says. “We had to continue it, because Ace liked it so much, they wanted it on their part of the buildout, too.”
The 17-year-old company installs metal roofs, metal wall panels, ACM panels and metal soffit panels. “Work ebbs and flows depending on the time of year but the demand for construction has been steady for the past few years now,” says Thorne. “There has been a large increase of work in our area which has allowed us to focus on work around the area and not having to take a lot of work out of town.”
Thorne is a fan of HWP panels, as well, noting its ease of installation. “That’s the great thing about that panel—it’s very simple and straightforward,” he says. “It’s a great panel to use.”
And he’s equally enthusiastic about the manufacturer. “We’ve always had a close relationship with Petersen,” he says. “They’ve always taken care of us over the years.
“On the Peterson side, we have our own fleet of panel machines that we are able to roll form projects on site with our own Florida Product Approvals,” says Thorne.
Dasher, who has also specified these products for previous projects, agrees with this assessment. “I’ve worked with Petersen, and my general impression from all my experience has been really good,” he says. “When we need samples, the company has always provided those.”