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Akron Art Museum

Location: Akron, Ohio
Architect of Record: Westlake, Reed, Leskosky
Design Architect: Coop Himmelb(l)au of Austria
Customer: Welty Building Co.
General Contractor: Mull Iron Steel Fabricators - Structural Steel Co. & Erector
Material: Lightweight Egg Crate 2" x 1/8" - Clear Anodized (3" x 6" Bar Spacing)

The main design feature of the new Akron Art Museum is its "Roof Cloud" (high roof). The Roof Cloud hovers above the building, creating a blurred envelope for the museum. It encloses interior space, provides shade in exterior spaces and also operates as a horizontal landmark in the city. As part of the roof cloud system, Ohio Gratings, Inc., in conjunction with the architect provided a full depth egg crate style aluminum grid system that is supported by steel Uni-Struts welded to the cantilevered structural steel beams which extend from the core of the building. The system was refined to meet air flow and shade requirements and engineered to be as lightweight as possible.

To meet the needs of the architect, Ohio Gratings Inc. developed an egg crate grid that is comprised of 2" x 1/8" aluminum bars pressure locked together at 3" x 6" openings. Ohio Gratings then fabricated panels at the same module as the metal wall panels that enclose the main gallery spaces. The grating panels themselves had to meet wind load criteria along the desired shading target, yet still be light enough as to not overwhelm the structural steel beam which cantilevered out to create the structure of the "roof clouds." As a final step, the aluminum grid panel system was clear anodized with a class I finish.

The panels were then attached and installed using a galvanized steel Uni-Strut system which was welded to the structural steel. The Uni-Struts allowed for installation of the panels in exact alignment despite greater than anticipated defections in the steel beams. 3D computer design software was used to model every panel and connection prior to fabrication and used updated models throughout the construction process.

All photos are courtesy of Riverfront Photography

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