The libraries of today are inviting learning environments that encourage collaboration and exploration. Hennepin County Library – Brooklyn Park in Minnesota is a testament to this philosophy, and Dri-Design VMZINC Wall Panels were used to complete the vision.

Metal was always intended to be part of the design, according to HGA Architects and Engineers, Minneapolis, but the team explored many metal panel sizes and patterns before selecting Dri-Design. The architects were searching for an aesthetic that fit the design intent while being efficient in terms of raw material, size, panel span, framing and manufacturing waste—without compromising design.

The Dri-Design panels were chosen for many more reasons, including their long lifespan. Dri-Design panels do not use any tapes, sealants or gaskets, which eliminates the streaking and staining associated with them. Dri-Design also contains no plastic core, so they last longer than other types of metal panels and are non-combustible. These traits reduce maintenance requirements, as well as add sustainable benefits.

This project followed B3 Guidelines, which are tools and programs created to make buildings in Minnesota more energy efficient and sustainable. Selecting a material like zinc further enhanced the building’s sustainability; zinc is a natural material that can be recycled indefinitely. Over time, zinc develops a natural protective layer that enhances its aesthetic and adds to its longevity.

“Our goal at Dri-Design has always been to produce a wall panel system that outlasts others, and we want to do this in a responsible way,” says Brad Zeeff, president of Dri-Design. “We have streamlined our manufacturing processes to consider the environmental impact of our operations and equipment to produce quality products.”

Progressive Building Systems, St. Michael, Minn., installed 11,000 square feet of 1.5-mm VMZINC Dri-Design Wall Panels. Jeremiah Masters, national sales/project manager with Progressive Building Systems, describes this project as the hardest on which he has ever worked. The outcome of the company’s efforts, however, is stunning.

He says, “The installation was definitely challenging to ensure we achieved proper lines to make the building as aesthetically appealing as it is. We had several conversations with Dri-Design to create the correct angels for fabrication. Dri-Design did a great job, as always, with the information that was given to them.”

The theme for the library is: geography, world culture and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). Materials and products were chosen to bring the theme to life. Jesse Zeien, AIA, project architect with HGA Architects and Engineers, says: "The exterior material palette was meant to make the library feel civic but still warm and inviting to the patrons. The material selection relates to the STEAM programming of the library; through careful selection and use of natural materials.

The cleft face of the slate exterior gives a hand-crafted texture, and the metal panel produces a rhythm and an important change in scale. The rhythm of zinc metal panels draws on the theme of geography and the patterns found in the rich cultural fabric of the neighborhood. The slate and metal panel is accented by a natural wood siding along with a wood entry canopy, which exudes warmth."

The 1-story, 39,000-square-foot library features three main rooms for children, teens and adults. The spaces are identified by vaulted roofs and give patrons their own hang-out areas. A clearly defined entry plaza with a canopy brings patrons into a lobby and customer-service area followed by eight study rooms, multipurpose and meeting rooms, computer stations and staff offices.

For more information about the Dri-Design Wall Panel System, visit