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  Barrio Metalico - Residence

Rob Paulus Architect, Ltd.
116 East Congress Street, Tucson, AZ 85701

LOCATION: Tucson, Arizona
Bid Date: August 2003 - Design/Build.
Construction Period: October 2003 to May 2005
Total Square Feet: 1,557 per unit. Site: 1.03 acres.
Number of Buildings: 9 units.
Building Size: First floor, 1,000; second floor, 557; total, 1,557 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 8’4”; second floor 10’; total, at high 21’, at 16’ low. 
Basic Construction Type: VB, Non-rated. 
Foundation: Slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: Pre-engineered steel frame. Roof: Metal. Floors: Concrete, plywood over pre-engineered steel joists. Interior Walls: Wood stud drywall.

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Grenier Engineering, Inc. - 1660 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Caliber West LLC - 3938 East Grant Road, #137, Tucson, AZ 85712
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: Jerome E. McGetrick - 954 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85711
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Jeff Cowles of Mechanical Engineering Consultants, LLC - P.O. Box 69819, Tucson, AZ 85737

Barrio Metalico is a small community of modern residential living within the overwhelmingly industrial neighborhood of Millville, east of downtown Tucson, Arizona.

As nine single-family loft residences positioned on two neighboring sites on the same city block, this project is transforming the existing sparse industrial neighborhood into a mixed-use neighborhood with a more desirable proportion of residential, commercial and industrial components. As a distinctive alternative to the single-story wood frame and stucco housing that has overrun the western United States, each of the 1,557-square-foot, two-story Barrio Metalico residences offer residents of Tucson the opportunity for loft living. All five of the first phase units have been sold and are currently occupied. Barrio Metalico is being jointly developed with the forthcoming Ice House Lofts and has triggered local interest in urban infill projects and alternative housing. 

The conceptual approach for this Metalico project was to not shy away from its mixed industrial environs but rather, to embrace it. This is accomplished on several fronts. The exterior skin of each Metalico unit is corrugated metal with a Galvalume®, aluminum coated steel, finish. An existing adobe structure that once provided housing for factory workers in the early 1900s has been adaptively reused as part perimeter site fencing. The majority of perimeter fencing incorporates salvaged distressed wood and corrugated metal from a demolished building on a neighboring site. 

The design of the interior looks to first address the needs and aspirations of loft living, while simultaneously alluding to the industrial aesthetic without embodying it. Whereas the design of the interior is warm and intimate, juxtaposition occurs between the seemingly mutually-exclusive characteristics of exterior and interior. The sloped-roof spatial volumes of every Metalico unit are filled with natural light throughout the course of the day. Apertures have been located to frame views of the exterior beyond — A floor-to-ceiling northeast corner window provides ground floor views to enclosed courtyards and upper floor views to the Catalina Mountains beyond. Interior finishes include polished and sealed concrete floors, mill-finish steel stairs and guardrails, maple cabinetry, and exposed ductwork.

While the design for Barrio Metalico reflects attributes from its immediate built environment, the buildings themselves are equally as responsive to the natural environment. 12-foot tall by 4-foot diameter rainwater harvesting tanks capture all roof drainage for future re-use in watering the indigenous landscape. A shared vehicular gate uses a solar panel as its primary power supply. All Metalico units are pre-plumbed for solar water heating. Most importantly, the exterior enclosure is constructed with R-48+ “blown in blanket” insulated walls and uses high-performance aluminum window frames with 1-inch insulated glass units and integral Low-E coating. 

Each of the Metalico units exceeds the local energy code requirement and has been enrolled in the local electric utility “Guarantee Home Program.” This program insures optimal mechanical performance and affords a “per kilowatt hour” rate for the end user over the first five years.

DIV: 5: Corrugated Metal: MBCI.
DIV. 8: Windows: Fleetwood.

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