The Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department in Minneapolis has a renovated office hub. A printing plant once occupied the cinderblock building that has been transformed with a Dri-Design Wall Panel System in both flat and Tapered Series panels. A corner building that many probably never noticed is now an original structure that fosters attention. The Tapered panels were installed on a curved corner element that was added by the design team to showcase the building.

“The combination of these two panel profiles completely changes the look of the building,” said Brad Zeeff, president of Dri-Design. “The metal panels balance with the remaining cinderblocks while also bringing class and originality to the structure.”

The architect, Mobilize Design & Architecture, Minneapolis, worked with the building owner and real estate developer The Ackerberg Group, Minneapolis, to create the design. David J. Witt, partner with Mobilize Design & Architecture, said, “We wanted to make the building more inviting for the clients of the department that would be visiting. There were only a few windows in the existing building so we wanted to add significantly more windows and get more light into the building. We wanted to transform the image of the building so someone coming by would think that a new building had been built on the site of the old building.”

Attention was brought with the Tapered Series Panels because they can be angled in any direction with varying depths and degrees of slope. This feature creates dynamic, one-of-a-kind surfaces on nearly any façade, without the need to modify the substrate or weather barrier.

It delivered 4,660 square feet of 0.080-inch aluminum Tapered Series panels and a flat wall panel system in charcoal gray; slate gray; silver and purple rain, a color changing paint that transforms from gray to purple, depending on the viewing angle. The color changing paint was used on 694 square feet of the flat panels. They were installed by MG McGrath Inc., Maplewood, in a record-breaking cold winter without delay.

The wall system was selected for ease of installation, clean sharp lines, design flexibility and quality customer service. With Dri-Design, Mobilize Design & Architecture noted, it could be creative without added costs. Will Pilkington with M3Sixty, the local representative, said, “Dri-Design will realize design ambitions, and they are always open to new things.”

The panels do not require sealants, gaskets or butyl tape like other panel systems. This eliminates the risk of streaks on the panels, a common occurrence with panel systems that use adhesives. The panels are not laminated nor a composite. They, therefore, will never delaminate. They are fully tested to ASTM standards for air, water and structural performance; AAMA 508-07 for pressure equalized rain screens; and hurricane tested and approved for installation in Dade and Broward counties in Florida, which sets some of the highest standards in the country.

The panels have a unique interlocking design and are manufactured using a highly efficient automated system. They can be installed over simple substrates, like plywood, and a weather barrier, as well as over more complex systems, involving outboard insulation. This was a selling point for the design team. “We liked the flexibility we had in designing with Dri-Design,” Witt said. “We also liked the Tapered panels, which allowed us to do something unique with an important corner of the building. We had many color choices and were able to use a color shift paint on some of the panels.”

The single-story, 25,000-square-foot building is 100-feet deep.

For more information about the Dri-Design Wall Panel System, call 616-355-2970 or visit