With the help of zinc wall panels, you’d never guess that this retail building, located in Hyde Park on the south side of Chicago, was formerly a Borders bookstore. The black and patina-blue VMZinc flat lock panels are not only versatile and extremely durable, but they add visual interest, even an edginess, to the building design, say Jim Tuschall of Tuschall Engineering Company Inc., Burr Ridge, IL, and architect Wil Bruchmann of Antunovich Associates, Chicago.
The project serves as an anchor to a revitalized retail street corridor near the University of Chicago campus. Slated to open in June, the building houses a women’s clothing store and yoga studio in the front portion colored blue, and a high-end restaurant and music venue in the black- colored back.
“I was drawn to the patinaed zinc because its color changes slightly with the time of day, weather, and seasons. Every time you look at the building, it has a whole different color that can range from gray to aqua blue to anywhere in between,” says Bruchmann. “The panels are uniform height but random lengths. Adding detail to the wall also created a dynamic transition between the two colors, which mimic the differing uses within the building.”
Bruchmann also notes the long life of zinc. “It ages well over time and is very resilient,” he says. “There’s no question in mind that this was the best product for this particular project. There’s no other material out there that could create this sort of look and feel.”