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The Power of Aesthetics

Mon Power Regional Headquarters Showcases Creative Spark

Round the bend on southbound Interstate 79 just past the Highway 250 interchange in Fairmont, W.Va. and prepare to be amazed: A futuristic, high-tech citadel suddenly towers over the rolling West Virginia countryside.

The Mon Power Regional Headquarters is a dazzler. The $50 million, 148,000-square-foot data center “looks like you’re going to run into it. By design, it’s perfectly situated for maximum visibility from the interstate,” explains Richard T. Forren AIA, NCARB, principal/senior project architect, of Omni Associates Architects, Inc., the building’s designers.

If architecture is a visual language designed to communicate an aesthetic, Formawall® Dimension Series® insulated metal panels (IMPs) from CENTRIA serve as the high-tech vocabulary of that language. For Mon Power officials, the new headquarters had to symbolize the new technology behind the company’s vast transmission control operation.

A New Direction

Award Winner

They got it. So much so that the CENTRIA-clad design earned the “AIA West Virginia 2012 Merit Award" for Achievement in Architecture.

“When I asked the utility president what he wanted the building to look like, he said like the one across the street,” Forren recalls. “That gave me a good understanding of what he wanted. They wanted a very clean, high-tech look. CENTRIA panels are ideal.”

Nearly 53,000 square feet of the building’s envelope were clad with insulated CENTRIA Formawall and Versawall® embossed-, smooth-, and striated embossed-finished panels. This all-in approach was never doubted by Forren.

Best of the Best

“When you look at all the metal panel manufacturers that are out there—and there are a number of them—CENTRIA has the highest quality,” Forren observes. “One of the things we look carefully at is finish, especially in a project targeting Gold LEED certification. We had to head off any issues with air or moisture infiltration at the envelope.”

For example, other metal panel manufacturers rely on exposed caulking to seal seams. CENTRIA panels fit together without exposed caulking, saving considerable time, labor expense and downstream maintenance because of eventual caulk failure. Forren cites several other reasons for specifying CENTRIA:

  • Unmatched Support. “We received great support from CENTRIA’S Pittsburgh office. They were extremely helpful in not only the selection of the type of panel but also in the detailing in the construction documents.” Forren also notes CENTRIA’S project-first approach included critical thinking about specification, which included suggestions on using other manufacturers that “not only did we consider but actually specified. CENTRIA was a trusted partner.”
  • LEED Points. CENTRIA panels consist of 25 percent recycled content and are 100 percent recyclable. Local manufacturing helped with the vendor proximity award.
  • Ever-Changing Aesthetic. The texture of the metal panels provides a dynamically changing image as the sunlight tracks across it.

Ease of Installation

Project installation was provided by a team of experts from A.C. Dellovade, Inc., based in Canonsburg, Pa. A member of CENTRIA’s nationwide Dealer Network, A.C. Dellovade, Inc. is one of the country’s largest commercial architectural metal wall and roofing system contractors and no stranger to the advantages of installing CENTRIA IMPs.

“Basically, it comes down to responsibility,” Project Manager Tom Brown says. “As far as ease of coordination and installation, using a single source like CENTRIA makes our life much easier.”

Another advantage of CENTRIA’s IMP wall systems is single-component construction. Formawall Dimension Series is the only wall system that provides advanced thermal and moisture performance (ATMP®) in a single, panelized component, resulting in faster installation and reduced jobsite waste.

Today the Mon Power Regional Headquarters is LEED Certified, serving as a showcase of sustainability in action. For the tens of thousands of motorists viewing its glimmering form each week, it stands as an enduring symbol of the utility’s commitment to energy innovation and investment. To view more images, visit Omni Associates.

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