Jun 25, 2023


Metal wall panel systems offer a cost-effective, dynamic cladding option for high-rise buildings. Available in a wide variety of styles and finishes, panel profiles can be used alone or intermixed, with one finish or a combination, to provide unlimited creative facades. The addition of perforation makes these panels suitable for parking structures, a must-have for many high-rises, and metal's durability ensures a long-lasting, low-maintenance exterior.

In Cincinnati, a parking lot in the historic district was torn up to make way for 1010 On the Rhine, a mixed-use development featuring luxury apartments, a parking deck, and a two-story Kroger with a one-of-a-kind food hall that immediately became a popular destination with local foodies.

Cincinnati-based GBBN was the design firm, and from the start they realized a successful building had to incorporate a mix of both old and new. According to Stefan Cornelis, a GBBN associate on the project, "The massing and articulation – almost all of it was driven by the historic context. But we still wanted it to be a contemporary building." To add the modern-day flair, a combination of glazing was selected and approximately 44,000 sq. ft. of aluminum PAC-CLAD Flush panels in Stone White, Cityscape, Silver and a custom Charcoal were specified.

The flush panels were installed vertically in a vaguely art deco-ish pattern that required quite a bit of planning. Steve Kenet, AIA, principal and director of community development with GBBN, explained, "We ran computer algorithms so that it's not random, but it seems like it has an organic feeling to it."

A parking deck is rarely known for its chic exterior, but the perforated metal screen on The Charles, located in Atlanta's swanky Buckhead neighborhood, is worth a second look. Knox Jolly, senior associate with the Atlanta office of Lord Aeck Sargent, explained the thought process behind the design. "Historically, Peachtree Road has been an important contributor to the urban form of Atlanta. Through alternating window patterns and balcony profiles, we wanted to create a Peachtree frontage for this building that reflects the same dynamics as the road itself. Our design goal was to treat this screened parking in a similarly dynamic way to the overall building, as it fronts Peachtree Road as well."

Architects for The Charles turned a parking deck screen into an attractive streetside feature with creative installation of perforated metal wall panels and lighting. Photo:

To accomplish this trendy design, PAC-CLAD 7.2 Rib Exposed Fastener panels in Weathered Zinc aluminum were perforated and mounted to the garage structure at several depths, and braced on multiple facades with steel I-beams that complement and emphasize the angular panel profiles. "We knew we wanted to have multiple panels that varied in depth to allow for both shadows during the day and lighting opportunities at night," Jolly said. He also utilized the flexibility of hole sizes, spacing and open-space percentages offered by perforation: "We wanted to push the perforation ratio to the minimum open area by code. This allowed each screen to read more like a skin than an opening."

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With college students returning to campus, housing shortages are returning as well. Core Spaces’ ōLiv Tempe is now serving Arizona State University (ASU) students with a high-rise apartment building featuring a gym, spa, clubroom and rooftop pool, along with parking and street-level retail.

The mixed-material façade of luxury student housing ōLiv Tempe was inspired by the Tower of Babylon. Photo: Brian Adams

According to Cristina McMahon, senior associate with the Chicago office of architects Antunovich Associates, when it came to design, "Our client's exact phrase for describing their exterior design goal was ‘Tower of Babylon.’" McMahon noted her firm has worked on several Core Spaces’ projects, and added, "As with all our firm's projects with our client, we want people to know that they are arriving at a Core Spaces development."

To achieve this unique look, architects opted for metal panels next to softer materials, in this case the EIFS of the building's tower. PAC-CLAD Precision Series Highline M1 panels were specified in a custom Toile Red to relate to the ASU team colors. Additional Charcoal Gray panels were specified for trim work around the garage and other building areas.

McMahon adds that metal wall panels were part of the architects’ plans for the garage from the start due to their good looks and ability to stand up to the elements. To create more visual interest and break up the expanse of metal, architects added vertical strips of steel boxes in a charcoal finish that look vaguely like windows. McMahon explained, "The parking structure is quite long, and the introduction of a new material and pattern in its cladding serves to break up the façade. This change in material also occurs directly over the building's main entry, naturally providing a wayfinding device for pedestrians."

ōLiv's PAC-CLAD Highline M1 metal wall panels in custom ASU Toile Red are broken up by Charcoal boxes for visual interest on the large parking garage. Photo: Brian Adams

Installers with Global Roofing had to work within a tight time frame and appreciated the accessibility to Petersen's local office and plant. Despite the challenges in completing the building in time for the school year, nearly every residential unit had been leased by the time it opened to the public, and according to McMahon, "The finished product is almost identical to the renderings produced during the entitlement phase, indicating that the installers worked closely with our team to meet design intent."

For more information on metal wall panel systems, available colors and finishes, case studies, or to schedule a virtual meeting with a representative, visit