Do the colors and materials you choose tell the right story?

Photo: alanblakely.com
The custom wood grain finish on the facade of the Mino-Bimaadiziwin Apartments reflects the cultural connection between the Red Lake Reservation and Minneapolis’ Native American Cultural Corridor.

Exterior finishes can combine to tell a powerful story about a building’s purpose and people, and the strategic use of color and materials ensures it’s a story worth telling.

These three projects are impactful examples of what the right combination of colors and finishes can do: convey specific emotions, provide insight into what is happening inside a building, and connect people with compelling messages. .

Matte Black Flush Panels, Bone White 7.2 Rib Panels and Custom Finish Panels
Photo: alanblakely.com
Matte Black Flush Panels, Bone White 7.2 Rib Panels and Custom “Super Douglas” Wood Grain Finish Panels, all from PAC-CLAD, provide a dynamic facade that is easy to install, durable and cost effective.

Highlight a community anchor

As tribal members of the Red Lake Band move into Minneapolis’ eight-block Native American Cultural Corridor, new Mino-Bimaadiziwin apartments provide affordable housing to better serve the neighborhood.

As the only part of the corridor visible from the East Franklin Avenue thoroughfare, the building represents the people who now call this neighborhood home. Finishes have a huge effect on how the building is perceived by people in and around it.

“When it came to establishing an aesthetic, the focus was on contextualizing the project,” says Jeremiah Johnson, senior partner at design firm Cuningham. “It needed to convey an urban, contemporary feel that would grab attention without clinging to typical Native American architectural tropes.”

With the Red Lake Reservation more than 250 miles away, Johnson wanted to integrate pieces of home – from prairies to dense white cedar forests – into this new urban space while showcasing it as a community anchor.

To do this, he chose contrasting black and white metal panels to break up the structure and allow a play of light and shadow. To honor the many trees on the reservation, he used easy-to-maintain metal panels with a red woodgrain finish to add framed facade elements that represent the seven major clans of Red Lake Nation.

“The design reflects the level of symbolism that everyone was looking for,” says Johnson. “It’s not overtly symbolic or cartoonish in nature, but it does give a nod of respect to the Red Lake Nation reservation.”

A playful study, the courtyard of the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati, Ohio features metallic flush panels in patina green, teal, and a glossy custom budgie yellow.  The colors reflect the vital elements of the yard they surround.
Photo: hortonphotoinc.com
A playful study, the courtyard of the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati, Ohio features metallic flush panels in patina green, teal, and a glossy custom budgie yellow. The colors reflect the vital elements of the yard they surround.

Send a message of hope

For Ronald McDonald House Cincinnati, the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world, colors and finishes were used to convey feelings of hope and playfulness to families and children who stay here while traveling in Ohio to receive medical attention.

Taking inspiration from the building’s surrounding garden features, GBBN Architects chose to clad the exterior walls of the building’s courtyard in neutral gray metal panels that allow playful pops of green and yellow to stand out around the window openings and the along a recessed wall. Colors reflect warmth, comfort, lightness and friendliness as they help create a space where families can rest, relax and connect with others going through similar experiences.

The Children's Museum and Theater of Maine is a modern metal and glass structure, but the pattern of the Precision Series metal tiles is inspired by nature, with Stone White, Granite, Cityscape and Berkshire Blue forming a seemingly organic facade inspired by by rippling water, butterfly wings, fish scales and tree bark.
Photo: hortonphotoinc.com
The Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine is a modern metal and glass structure, but the pattern of the Precision Series metal tiles is inspired by nature, with Stone White, Granite, Cityscape and Berkshire Blue forming a seemingly organic facade inspired by by rippling water, butterfly wings, fish scales and tree bark.

A design nod to the past and present

To present the Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine in Portland as a learning space that opens its doors to the community, Bruner/Cott Architects took a unique design approach. Located on the site of a former rail yard converted into an art and entertainment space, the exterior of the building is clad in metal tiles.

Together, these tiles create a multicolored pattern that fades from cream to heather grey, with hints of navy and sky blue. This pattern pays a subtle homage to the former industrial site while drawing inspiration from Maine’s regional ecosystem, with colors chosen to represent rippling water, butterfly wings, fish scales and tree bark. trees.

Learn more about these and other projects at PAC-CLAD.com.

About Byron G. Fazio

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