Perforated metal canopies blend the exterior and interior spaces and provide shade from the Arizona sun.
For decades, citizens of Eloy, Ariz., often had to make multiple trips to conduct their regular business with the city. Space limitations meant city offices were located in different facilities. So, getting a building permit could mean a trip to the Planning and Zoning office, followed by a drive across town to pay permit fees at the Finance Department. A new $7 million city hall has placed all departments together under one roof.
Located halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, Eloy’s history is tied to that of the Southern Pacific Railroad. That company built the first railroad line across southern Arizona in the late 1870s, called the East Line of Yuma. A siding and section house were added in 1902 and named Eloy—an acronym for the railroad line. Since then, the town’s population has grown to approximately 11,000, and that number is expected to almost double by 2025. More efficient city operations will be critical to manage coming development.
Designers with SmithGroup’s Phoenix office drew on the surrounding desert’s muted color palette, along with the town’s strong railroad history, in their plans for the new city hall. The sand-toned, cast-concrete walls feature panels segmented by vertical I-beams as a railroad-track reference. A curving, EIFS-based wall element adds a pop of muted color, in a hue that seems a close match to that of the saguaro cactus native to the region.
“That was one of the influences – they really like the cactus – along with their agricultural history,” says Stacia Ledesma, a SmithGroup designer on the project. A similar Aged Copper finish was chosen for the two entry canopies fabricated from perforated .050-gauge aluminum PAC-CLAD 7.2 panels from Petersen.
“We really wanted to bring shading into the building, and the west canopy also creates a gathering space as well as an entry,” she says, adding that the west canopy also appears to continue into the building, creating a signature ceiling element. “It really brings that texture and layering into the building—It blends the interior and exterior space.” LED lighting is incorporated into these perforated panels, to add more visual interest after sundown.
Originally the design called for Corten metal, but it wasn't in the budget. Instead, they chose PAC-CLAD because, “I knew the PAC-CLAD finish wouldn’t rust,” Ledesma says. “And the Aged Copper worked as well, so it was really about the color.”
Tucson-based Progressive Roofing had a couple of challenges. As project manager Bill Quinney explains, the panels were installed on the underside of the canopies’ framing structures, which meant the panels had to be held up, from underneath. “The screw placement had to be precise, because you would be able to see all the screw heads. Because the panels are perforated, they’re less rigid, so there was a higher risk of them being damaged.”
Fortunately, according to Ledesma, "I think everybody's pleased with the results. And they're proud of their new building."