Exterior Building Design Considerations

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1. General Guidance

In addition to incorporating the specified design program and the general design parameters noted and/or referenced elsewhere herein, the University has established the following specific criteria for all buildings:

  • ENTRIES: All building entrances shall be provided with vestibules, incorporating recessed type “walk-off” mats, where possible.
  • ROOF ACCESS: Designs shall incorporate adequate access to each roof level. Roof access shall be easily accessible and safe. Roof ladders or platforms with steps to cross from one roof level to the next shall be specified. Access to roof shall be noted to be through an adjacent stair tower to the roof. Design Professionals shall avoid incorporating the use of roof hatches if at all possible.

2. Concrete

  • All concrete exposed to weather shall be specified to be air-entrained.
  • The use of admixtures will be permitted only for air-entraining agent in specified type concrete. Antifreeze and other admixtures are not normally permitted in University designs; however, if required, Design Professional shall provide written explanation to the University prior to its incorporation into the project specifications.
  • Air-Entrainment Tests: The specifications shall stipulate that tests of air-entrained concrete shall be made to determine the percentage of air entrained in the concrete. These tests shall be made to determine the percentage of air entrained in the concrete. The Project specifications shall require that these tests shall be performed in accordance with PennDOT 408, Section 704.1(c)1, by a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Project specifications shall stipulate that the Prime General Contractor shall retain and pay for the services of a qualified laboratory to perform all testing throughout the project.

3. Masonry

The Design Professional shall consider the following criteria in designing/selecting the use of masonry in a design project:

  • While most of the buildings on campus are comprised of masonry construction, with brick or serpentine stone facades, the Design Professional should consider the aesthetic of the surrounding built-environment within which the project is to be located to determine the best materials to incorporate into the façade.
  • New construction need not expressly duplicate the existing serpentine stone or historical features predominant in the Academic Quad (Philips Memorial Center/Asplundh Theatre, Recitation Hall, Ruby Jones Hall, Anderson Hall), however consideration should be made towards achieving a similar richness through material texture/color, material detailing and fenestration of individual facades. For example, the Business Center (PBMC) use brown, gray and tan bricks in sizes and conformations reflective of the serpentine stone of the historic quadrangle, with alternative detailing providing unique and modern expressions.
  • The vernacular on East Campus Buildings is lighter and less indicative of the academic gothic motif. On this section of campus, the use of standard bricks in yellow/tans and light browns with accents of light red and ecru masonry are acceptable.
  • The Design Professional is encouraged to explore and expand on this basic vocabulary, and to find ways to contribute to the interplay of materials and textures.

4. Roofing and Green 'Roofs'

Design Guidance: The Design Professional shall consider the following criteria in designing/selecting building thermal/moisture protection systems:

  • The general Roof Standard to be incorporated in Section 07 54 00 shall be Thermoplastic Membrane Roofing using TPO membrane.
  • Warranties: The Design Professional shall specify that the total roofing system shall be warranted for 15 years from the date of Substantial Completion; and, the roof Material shall be warranted for 20 years from the date of Substantial Completion. The Project Manual / Specification shall stipulate that the total roofing system must be backed by a Warranty Reserve Fund, containing a ‘no dollar limit’ for replacing the roof, covering all labor and materials costs, and providing for an extended peak gust wind speed coverage up to 72 mph, including the sheet metal fascia system. The Warranty shall not be prorated

Green Roof

  • Where new or renovated roofing is provided as part of the project scope, effort shall be made to incorporate a “green” or vegetated roof on some portion of the new installation. The vegetative roof area shall be designed to be accessible only for maintenance and upkeep; and, visible from other areas of the building.
  • On such projects having green roofs, the Design Professional shall specify a complete Shallow-Intensive/Lawn Garden Roof system assembly including surface conditioner, Monolithic Membrane 6125EV-FR and flashings, protection course, root barrier protection, STYROFOAM brand insulation, drainage/water retention component, filter fabric, lightweight engineered growing medium (soil) and extensive vegetation. Basis of design shall be American Hydrotech .
  • Soil: Design Professional shall specify custom growing media mix capable of supporting vigorous growth of the specified vegetation.
    Extensive: American Hydrotech, Inc., Extensive LiteTop Growing Media
    Intensive: American Hydrotech, Inc., Intensive LiteTop􀀼 Growing Media.
  • Extensive Green Roof Plants: On 4” thick beds, select from following plant list:
    • Sedum acre
    • Sedum hybr. ‘Immergrünchen’
    • Sedum fl. ‘Weihenstephaner Gold’
    • Sedum diffusum nubigenum
    • Sedum ewersii
    • Sedum kamtschaticum
    • Sedum rupestre
    • Sedum sarmentosum
    • Delosperma
  • Extensive Green Roof Plants: On 7” thick beds, Design Professional shall select from the plants noted above, or any other plants in the category marked as 6-8 inches of growing media in American Hydrotech Garden Roof Planning Guide
  • Intensive Green Roof Plants: The University’s preferred selection is clumping bamboo, however the Design Professional may also select any plants in the category marked as “over 12 inches of growing media” in American Hydrotech Garden Roof Planning Guide

5. Exterior Metal Railings and Handrails:

The Design Professional shall consider the following criteria in designing/selecting exterior metal railings and handrails:

  • Exterior steps shall be designed to have railings at all open sides; and, shall have a center railing if warranted by the stair width as required by applicable code. All exterior railings shall be steel or aluminum, not less than two (2) inches in diameter, and securely anchored
  • Where end caps or post caps are required, they should be permanently fastened by welding or with rivets or screws which cannot be easily removed

6. Exterior Loading Dock Areas:

The Design Professional shall consider the following criteria in designing/selecting exterior metal railings and handrails:

  • Loading dock truck bumpers shall be molded rubber or of the type that employs the use of laminated tire cording held together with galvanized bolts passing through cording and attached by heavy galvanized metal angles securely anchored to the structure.
  • The Design Professional's attention is directed to the installation at loading docks areas for shipping and receiving areas where a canopy or roof structure may interfere with the loading and unloading of freight. The height of loading dock platforms and the height of overhead structures should be such that trucks may gain access to the dock in both loaded and unloaded conditions, compatible with facility use requirements.
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