Category Archives: Architecture

Metal Clad Retreat Home Provides Fire Protection and a Beautiful Aesthetic in the Santa Monica Mountains

In the aftermath of the Old Topanga Fire, which broke out near Malibu, Calif. in the fall of 1993, more than 39,000 acres of land in Malibu neighboring Topanga burned, sending property values plummeting for several years. 

At the time, young architect Joe Day, AIA, and his wife were able to afford an empty plot overlooking the Santa Monica Bay in Topanga.

14 years later, now a firm leader with Deegan-Day Design & Architecture in Los Angeles, Day’s team finally completed the 4/Way 2,250-square-foot retreat home in this once again desirable location.

With fire protection top of mind, Day chose metal for the exteriors. A RHEINZINK prePATINA architectural-grade zinc clads the walls and roof. In addition to resisting fire and corrosion, the long-lasting material is fully recyclable and its dynamic patina will evolve in color over time.

Enhancing the home’s fire protection, steel trusses lend a unique interior aesthetic over the living spaces and concrete was selected for the base of the structure.

“Fear of fire, flood, slides and erosion dictate stringent setback, cladding and planting guidelines enforced by the state-wide Coastal Commission and by a myriad county and city agencies,” explains Day.

In addition, the home sits downslope from its neighbors, essentially making it the first line of fire defense for the community.

“A lot of the rationale for the house has to do with the idea that now we’re the outpost. If you can defend our property, you are defending five houses up the street,” he says.

The property’s surrounding terraces offer a series of outdoor rooms and act as a fire buffer as well.

Like a good neighbor, the design sits low enough on the ridge to preserve views for the homes uphill while showcasing the natural, mountainous landscape through large glass windows.

“To take advantage of a distant, but commanding view of Santa Monica Bay, the house folds across the grain of a steeply sloping ridge, ducking upslope neighbors and cutting into the hillside to cool the lower floor,” notes Day.

The name 4/Way House was inspired by the home’s four rotations.

• The first is a planimetric rotation approximately 18 degrees off the cardinal north-southeast-west to the southeast, toward the Santa Monica Bay view.
• The second rotation comprises the truss configurations that give the house its angular envelope, opening the house toward the view while also providing a faceted fire blanket for the house.
• The third orientation is the garage, designed to municipal specifications to potentially aid firefighters. It tilts 90 degrees upward and doubles as a movie screen.
• The fourth rotation references an internal ruled-surface rotation that governs much of the cabinetry and the transition between floors.

Ultimately, the raw concrete, exposed metal, zinc panels and birch plywood combine to display a beautiful, durable and protective interior and exterior.

Register Now – Earn CE Credits!

Register Now – Earn CE Credits!

Building Sustainably with Metal Roofs and Walls

Tuesday April 6 @ 2pm EST
This live webinar, presented by Robert Zabcik, will discuss how metal roofs and walls can reduce energy consumption in buildings and how they can help you comply with energy codes.
Sign up >
#buildingdesign #architecture

Christmas City

Bethlehem – also known as “Christmas City” – is home to the Bethlehem Visitor’s Center. The site once was home to Bethlehem Steel, which helped create the steel used in many famous buildings and bridges, as well as the ships that helped win both World Wars. After the mill closed, the rubble masonry structure was transformed into the City’s new Visitors Center topped with a new metal roof.@atas.intl S-5! Attachment Solutions
#roofinglife #metalroofing #metalroof #metalconstruction

Tune into the next MetalCon Live this week!

Nearly 300 metal industry professionals tuned in last week to METALCON’s first live “Town Hall” event when METALCON Co-Founder and CEO, Frank A. Stasiowski, FAIA,  in partnership with the Metal Construction Association, and Rob Haddock, CEO and Founder of S-5! Metal Roof Innovations, led an engaging and honest conversation about the current status of the industry amidst the current pandemic crisis. Along with providing practical tactics that companies can do right now, they mixed in live polling questions that added to the overall content.

Tune in THIS Wednesday, April 8 at 1:00 PM EST for the second METALCON Live and another chance to get practical advice from these two industry titans, along with participation from metal construction colleagues from around the world.

YOU can participate in advance by sending topics and/or questions that you would like covered by emailing them to JUDY@METALCON.COM.

Give us 60 minutes and we’ll give you clear no-BS answers and practical steps you can start using immediately!


Why You See Christmas Trees Atop Construction Sites

tree 1 This time of year, it’s common to see Christmas trees. But why do you see them on top of commercial construction sites all year long? These trees are a tradition in commercial construction. But do you know where the tradition comes from, or what it means?

Topping Out Ceremonies
Prior to adding the metal panels and metal roofing, a building’s framing is completed by placing the last beam at the highest point of the building. To commemorate this accomplishment, crews have a Topping Out ceremony: a party to celebrate those who made the building possible. They hoist an evergreen tree attached to that last beam for all to see. Often an American flag is also put on the opposite end of the beam. Sometimes the last beam is painted white and signed by the members of the crew, contractor, architects, and owner. But where did this odd tradition come from?

How It Started
Immigrants to the U.S. brought the tradition with them from Europe and Scandinavia, passed down from early pagan and Christian traditions. It’s believed that as early as 700 A.D. Scandinavians began topping out structures with a fir tree to signal those nearby that it was time for the celebration to start. Others believe the tradition of an evergreen atop a structure was started to represent new birth, as the Christmas tree represents the birth of the baby Jesus. There are many tales how the tradition started, and so the specific origin is murky.

tree2The Building Is the Gift Under The Tree
While Grand Opening festivities introduce a new building to the public, the Topping Out ceremony uniquely honors the accomplishments of the construction crew, architect, building owner and other key people who made the building possible. Reminiscent of a party at the end of an old-fashioned barn raising, a Topping Out ceremony gives credit to those who do the actual work of designing, planning, and constructing buildings.

Celebrate Your Own Metal Construction
The Topping Out ceremony is a wonderful celebration for any construction project, whether low-rise, high-rise, commercial, residential, or other. On your next construction project, take the time to celebrate what’s been accomplished and the people who made it happen with a Topping Out ceremony. It’s a little bit of Christmas that you can look up and experience year round!