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Met-Tile Facsimile Roof Lends Historic Tone To New Chris Wilson Pavilion

In designing the new Chris Wilson Pavilion at Potawatomi Park (South Bend, Indiana), the architect was charged with creating a high-quality outdoor performing arts locale that would overcome the size and acoustical limitations of a small existing band shell. The new band shell also was desired to be an aesthetic match for an adjacent historic picnic pavilion. One of the key design materials that allowed the architect to meet all goals was a metal tile facsimile roof system from Met-Tile Inc. (Ontario, California).

“Potawatomi Park is a highly visited historic attraction, and it was important to preserve its traditional flavor,” notes Kathryn Schuth, an architect with James Childs Architects (South Bend, Indiana), architect of record for the Chris Wilson Pavilion. “The picnic pavilion has tall brick piers and is covered by an original clay tile roof, but clay tile was not a viable roofing option for the band shell due to weight and cost concerns,” she explains.

“We quickly turned to metal roofing systems after considering other options, and we looked at samples of Met-Tile’s tile facsimile system and found it to be a very good match,” reports Schuth. “It is only a fraction the weight of clay tile, and it also met our requirements for appearance, affordability, and ease of installation.”

Design described
James Childs Architects worked with consulting engineer Yerges Acoustics (Woodridge, Illinois) and the general contracting firm, The Robert Henry Corporation (South Bend) to create a building geometry designed to naturally amplify the performances staged in this band shell. The shell is 60 ft. wide and 32 ft. tall at the front of the stage, tapering down to 30 ft. width at the rear of the structure. The stage can accommodate a 50+ member symphony and has a flat floor for theater and dance as well as music. A spacious backstage area is used for storage and changing.

In addition to the Met-Tile roofing, the architect selected brick walls to reflect the look of the picnic area. Universally accessible seating configurations blend benches with grassy areas for flexible seating, and the stage faces north to shield audiences and performers from the glare of the sun. The site was designed to minimize the number of mature hardwood trees displaced by the new structure.

Met-Tile roof specifics
The stage area combines load bearing masonry with wood trusses, featuring large laminate beams over the stage to support the elevated roof. Barany Sheet Metal, Inc. (South Bend) installed the roof panels over a standard plywood deck with an ice and water shield and rosin paper underlayment.
The project utilized about 5,200 sq ft of 26-gauge Met-Tile panels and matching accessories in a traditional Mission Clay color with an SMP paint system manufactured by Becker Specialty Corp.

The panels were manufactured in lengths ranging from 3 ft to 22 ft, and are designed for vertical installation from ridge to eave using screw fasteners that are more secure than nails. Met-Tile also supplied flat sheets that were used to form a custom edge trim around the front and sides of the band shell.

The tightly anchored long-length panels are highly resistant to wind (with a 230+ mph wind rating), moisture infiltration and hail, and the sloped metal system resists snow and ice damming in the winter months. In addition, Met-Tile is recognized as an ENERGY STAR® cool roof product. It reflects sunlight away from the building during hot summer days, helping to keep performers a little cooler on the stage below.

Architect Kathryn Schuth sums up: “Everyone has been very pleased with the result. Met-Tile provided an attractive and practical roofing solution, combining the functional benefits of metal with the historic look we were seeking for the band shell.”

The Chris Wilson Pavilion was completed in 2009 and was made possible by a combination of public and private funding from the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, the Rotary Club, the family of Christopher H. Wilson and private trusts. 

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