IMPs Double as Teaching Tool for this STEM-Focused High School

New three-story Mandeville High School classroom building designed by Holly & Smith Architects

With overflowing enrollment, it was time for Mandeville High School in Mandeville, La., to expand. To create an energy-efficient enclosure with a striking, colorful appearance, Holly and Smith architects chose insulated metal panels (IMPs).

Not only do the metal panels offer a weatherproof enclosure with R-values of up to 7 per inch, but a mix of horizontal and vertical blue and grey panels of varying lengths replicate the famous mathematical Fibonacci sequence.

Used as an important teaching tool for the students, the Fibonacci formula is a string of digits where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones. By integrating these values into the size of the IMP panels and windows, the façade achieves what’s called the Golden Ratio of visually appealing proportions, creating a sense of harmony for the subconscious mind.

In mimicking the Fibonacci pattern 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, Driftwood, Dove Gray, Regal Blue, and Slate Blue IMP panels at 12 in., 24 in., 28 in., 31in., 36 in., and 38 in. sizes were mixed and matched to achieve the formula.

New three-story Mandeville High School classroom building designed by Holly & Smith Architects

“The team assigned each different panel a color and selectively placed window openings to make the façade visually interesting and reinforce the pattern,” explains Damon Brown, regional sales manager, Kingspan Insulated Panels North America. “Each floor then mirrors the pattern—1st floor left to right, 2nd floor right to left, etc.—so the pattern does not stack vertically.”

The versatility of the IMPs was key to creating the sizes, orientations, and color changes to produce the aesthetic, educational façade. The design team also incorporated storefront windows with the Kingspan BENCHMARK Designwall 2000 panels to bring natural light into the classrooms.

“The building has classrooms which are more art and STEM focused and the Fibonacci sequence has important connections to art, natural science, math, and technology,” adds Brown.

In addition to the cool looking, energy efficient enclosure, the IMPs also contributed to the project delivery schedule.

“Getting the drywall and the finishing is the part that takes the longest in the building. Getting that stage started sooner is a big time-saver overall on the construction schedule,” reported Holly and Smith Project Architect Paul Morvant, AIA, NCARB, in a Design and Build with Metal article.

The three-story addition was expected to last 18 months, but COVID-19 delayed construction by an additional 6 months. If it hadn’t had been for the IMPs making up for lost time, the delay would have been even longer. Unlike traditional cladding installations requiring multiple trades, IMPs require just one installer – ER Barnes, based in Mandeville.

The new facility houses 38 new classrooms—26 regular classrooms and 12 smaller special education modules—support spaces and a courtyard offering collaborative space for students to study and socialize. The brand new building replaces 32 modular classrooms.

Other planned additions include a renovated locker room area, new HVAC system, and an adjacent, already completed sports practice facility.

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