The new Sharpsburg Community Library in Sharpsburg, Pa., is making a splash in this small town a few miles north of Pittsburgh. Instead of the one-story concrete block building library patrons previously frequented, they now have a vivid, multi-colored facility that has become a highlight of the town.
The architectural design, created by Front Studio Architects in Pittsburgh, offers an exterior featuring bold geometric shapes and bright colors. “It would be hard to miss the building’s new design,” said library director Kathy Amrhein. Front Studio principal Art Lubetz elaborated, saying, “Color is the easiest button to push to get an emotional response.”
Front Studio Architects initially was hired to design an addition on the back of the existing library building. “But it was such an unattractive structure that we just couldn’t do it. So we came up with the idea of literally surrounding the building with simple, elemental blocks that would be individually colored so that we would have this pulsating, dynamic structure,” Lubetz said.
Approximately 2,600 square-feet of PAC-CLAD 7/8-inch Corrugated Panels in five different colors was just what the design team was looking for. The .032-inch aluminum panels were finished in Copper Penny, Silver, Cardinal Red, Award Blue and Patina Green.
The decision to use metal as the primary exterior façade material was made fairly early in the design process. “As soon as we knew we wanted the building to be colorful, metal became the obvious choice for the exterior,” Lubetz said. “We had an extremely minimal budget for the project. PAC-CLAD corrugated metal would be the most economical, long-lasting material we could use. We got involved with Petersen because we like their colors. The contractor bid it out and the price was right.”
Durability and low maintenance were key factors, too. “The longevity of the product was important,” Lubetz said. “This is a little tiny library with little tiny budgets. We knew the PAC-CLAD corrugated wouldn’t require much attention in terms of maintenance. That’s another strong reason we used it.”
Installation of Petersen’s PAC-CLAD material was done by general contractor Franjo Construction in Pittsburgh. Project manager Skip Stein likes the look of the new building. “It certainly sets itself apart from the other construction in the area. It’s almost an amusement park appearance that the kids really like. The architect really did a nice job of mixing and matching the colors,” Stein said.
Corrugated metal continues to be a popular architectural material, Stein notes. “We see corrugated popping up all over the place. This job was relatively straightforward, although the building was irregular and didn’t have many 90-degree corners. That made installation of some of the outside corners a little challenging. But the corrugated really turned out great.”
Architect Lubetz agreed. “I couldn’t be happier with the way the project turned out. And the use of the PAC-CLAD had a lot to do with it,” he said.
The Petersen distributor on the project was Brock Associates in Pittsburgh.

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