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Playful Facade Gives Mid-Rise Apartments a Youthful Vibe

Mixing colours and materials provided an affordable way for architects to design a youthful, fresh mid-rise apartment building without breaking the budget.

Creating mid-rise apartment buildings that are both affordable and attractive can be a challenge. Architects must balance the desire to add exterior flair without busting a client’s budget. Mixing colour and material palettes along with façade profiles and depths offers one option for boosting appeal without challenging profit margins. This is the option chosen by designers of the new Metric Apartments, Minneapolis, Minn., in their plans for the five-story structure, with metal wall panels playing a featured role in the effort.

Designed with Young Renters in Mind

The five-story structure was built for At Home Apartments, a Minneapolis-based developer with several new-construction and renovated properties in that city and the Kansas City suburbs. It’s located in a high-density zoning area and replaced two single-family homes and a duplex, bringing more than 40 one- and two-bedroom units to the local rental market. The site offers many perks, including transit and outdoor activity access, that are particularly attractive to today’s younger renters. Perhaps for this reason, designers with the local firm Collage Architects created a design that reflects youthful enthusiasm. They mixed fiber cement board in light gray and terra cotta to highlight the entry façade and tied the whole building together with corrugated metal wall panels for a downtown, semi-industrial look.
“Trying to keep the costs down, the design worked toward a mix of metal panels and cement board – the challenge was to create the mix on a small building without getting too busy,” says Pete Keely, AIA, the firm’s founder and president. “The building responds to a variety of building heights in the vicinity. We used the changes in siding to respond to the context of the adjacent buildings’ height and width.”

Playful Mix of Materials

To supply the metal panels, the Collage team along with installers M&M Construction of Hudson in Stillwater, Minn., turned to Petersen’s PAC-CLAD products. Specifically, the project called for 12,000 sq. ft. of the company’s Precision Series Box Rib Wall Panel System in 22-gauge steel. Keely says the reflective nature of the panels’ Weathered Zinc Metallic finish creates a dynamic appearance.
“The metal changes hue over the day and sunlight conditions, helping to animate the building in its response to the solar conditions,” he says, adding that the material is now showing up more frequently in his firm’s plans. “In addition to its long-term stability, metal has more design flexibility in its shapes and orientations that allow us to highlight certain aspects of design.”
In the end, the architect says, the project’s exterior meets the goals his firm and the client established at the outset. “The design captures a playful mix of materials and shapes that gives it a youthful vibe.”

Durable, Lasting Colour

PAC-CLAD finishes are available in a wide spectrum of standard colours, including brilliant metallics, sophisticated wood grains and rich ores. Finishes are Fluropon® 70% PVDF coatings made with Kynar 500® resin, and are backed by an outstanding 35-year non-prorated warranty against chipping, chalking, peeling and fading. Most colours meet LEED requirements and are Cool Roof-rated.

 About PAC-CLAD | Petersen

PAC-CLAD | Petersen, a Carlisle Company, manufactures architectural metal products for virtually every residential and commercial building need. PAC-CLAD brand metal cladding systems include hidden- and exposed-fastener metal wall panels, standing-seam roof panels, flush panels, soffit panels, perforated metal, fascia and coping systems, composite panels and column covers, along with coil and flat sheet materials. Petersen was founded in 1965 in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, and now operates fabrication plants in Illinois, Georgia, Texas, Maryland, Arizona and Washington State. Our broad network of manufacturing plants and PAC-CLAD representatives serve architects and installers across the U.S. and Canada.

To learn more about architectural metal systems offered in a wide range of brilliant finishes, visit You can also use our website to find a local representative or schedule a virtual meeting.