Architectural Press Praises the Use of Zinc at Brown University

Top Quote For the new Granoff Center for the Creative Arts. End Quote
  • Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC (1888PressRelease) August 16, 2011 - When the new Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University was completed this spring, New York Times' architecture critic Nicholai Couroussoff called the building a "handsome piece of architecture" and specifically praised the use of zinc composite panels for the exterior.

    In the New York Times article, Couroussoff first observes that the 38,815-square-foot building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR) in New York, "adds a touch of contemporary glamour to a campus of solemn brick buildings and converted clapboard houses. And it does so without the over-the-top effects that could offend its aesthetically conservative neighbors."

    A large part of the contemporary look of the $40 million Granoff Center is actually a centuries old, naturally occurring substance -- 60,000 square feet of QUARTZ-ZINC - VMZINC® from Umicore Building Products USA, Inc. - manufactured by Alcoa. Zinc metal exterior rain screens fold around windows to provide views into the building from the street and out towards nearby Angell and Olive streets in Providence from the interior.

    "Seen from Angell Street, the wide horizontal bands of corrugated zinc that make up its wall give the building the look of a stack of super elegant shipping containers. The bands are pried up on several floors at the back of the building to reveal floor-to-ceiling windows," Couroussoff wrote.

    Quaint houses and a small lawn surround the building's site to the south and west. "And the zinc bands echo the genteel clapboard siding of those houses," Couroussof noted.

    Elsewhere in the media, Cathy Lang Ho of Architect magazine, the official publication of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), commented on DSR's "treatment of the zinc rain screen on the two exterior side walls: The panels...start out flat toward the front of the building and are gradually pulled into a three-dimensional pleat, scrunched up in a few corners to reveal some of the private rooms at the building's rear, as if one was lifting the hem of a skirt."

    "But there's much more to the use of zinc on the Granoff building than aesthetics," said Daniel Nicely, director of market development for VMZINC® and an associate member of the AIA. "Not only does it allow architects to easily create interesting and innovative forms, it also contributes to the sustainability of projects like this. The zinc will last at least 100 years, very little energy is used in its manufacturing, and at the end of its use, it can be recycled indefinitely. We're proud that our product played a major role in the design and sustainability of this beautiful architectural element on Brown University's campus."

    For more information on the quartz-zinc used on Brown's Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, go to

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