A longtime staple of the Bloomington, Ill., community, Vale Church has seen its congregation increase by more than a third in recent years. Their response, in addition to boosting staff, was to purchase 37 acres of land for a brand-new facility — designed from the ground up to be a physical representation of the church's modern philosophy and sense of community.
"It's about building community," says Rev. Ted Max, lead pastor at Vale Church. "We don't want to divide ourselves when we're together, so the building is designed to bring us together. It represents an opportunity for more people to come."
Construction for the new facility began in August 2017, with an aggressive timetable that targeted building enclosure by the end of the calendar year. Considering the fast-track construction schedule and a tight budget, BLDD Architects targeted multiple pre-engineered metal building frames from Star Building Systems as the basis for design.
“The facility is seven pre-engineered structures tied together to form one, large facility,” explained Jerry Weber, Star Building Systems.
The team’s aesthetic aspirations called for a unique look that was far from conventional.
"Our number one goal was to not look like a typical metal building," reported Project Architect Brian Sommerfeld, BLDD, who designed the church's exterior façade and also handled construction administration throughout the building process.
Vale Church's high-performance building envelope features more than 18,000 square feet of Metl-Span 3-inch CF Striated insulated metal panels in 24/26 gauge.
"They are a very modern, contemporary church, so we created an aesthetic that matched that with striated insulated metal panels," said Sommerfeld. "From a distance, the striated metal wall looks flat — similar to an architectural metal panel look."
Metl-Span insulated metal panels offer exceptional thermal performance in a single-component wall system. While traditional wall assemblies require multiple components and installation steps, insulated metal panels formed a weathertight barrier from the elements after just one pass from the installation team at P.J. Hoerr.
Combining a steel face and liner and closed-cell foam insulation, Metl-Span CF insulated metal panels are strong but lightweight, weighing considerably less than comparable precast, brick or glass building materials. The manageable weight reduces structural support requirements and also helps to deliver "quick and easy installation," according to Sommerfeld.
"Another one of our goals was to have the building weathertight by the end of 2017 to move to interior work," Sommerfeld added. "How quickly the insulated metal panels went up was a huge factor. Flashing in the panels together was very simple, as well."
Metl-Span insulated metal panels are available in a variety of profiles with thicknesses up to 4", offering a maximum R-value of 32.57 to meet even the most daunting environmental conditions. Sommerfeld specified the product in three distinct panel widths "to align the integrated windows with panel joints."
Vale Church utilizes warm red and orange hues for their logo and web properties. While relying predominantly on Polar White and Slate Gray panel colors, the new facility features nearly 2,000 square feet of CF Striated insulated metal panels in a striking shade of Copper Metallic to capture the church's warm atmosphere.
“The Copper Metallic color evokes their brand, and we liked the contrast with the gray and white panels," says Sommerfeld. "Overall, it was a very nice mix."
Sommerfeld accented the vertical insulated metal panel aesthetic with MBCI’s Designer Series Flat concealed fastener panels on the wing walls and main entrance. The single skin metal rainscreen panels features the same Copper Metallic finish in a horizontal orientation.
"Overall, the building is very vertical," he says. "We incorporated the single skin panels as a way to add some variation to the aesthetic with a horizontal element."
Metl-Span panels also served as the basis for the project's roofing system. Vale Church features more than 30,000 square feet of Insulated BattenLok metal roof panels in matching Regal Gray. The composite roof panel design combines durable interior and exterior metal faces with Metl-Span’s unmatched polyurethane core.
Just like their wall counterparts, Insulated BattenLok roof panels are offered in a variety of widths, lengths and thicknesses to meet unique project parameters. The panels feature two-inch high standing seams for long, dynamic sightlines, along with the lightly corrugated Mesa exterior face between the seams.
The new Vale Church opened its doors to the public June 1. All told, the project incorporates approximately 50,000 square feet of metal panels by Metl-Span, Star Building Systems and MBCI — showcasing the best in design and performance from industry-leader NCI Building Systems Inc. The end result is an ultra-modern, aesthetically pleasing facility for the church's growing congregation.