Home2 Suites by Hilton Chicago River North was designed for travelers who want to maintain their normal routine. It features 206 suites and a range of tech-focused and eco-conscious amenities, while becoming the company’s 300th property.
More than 46,000 square feet of insulated metal panels from Metl-Span were specified and installed on the milestone hotel.
“Initially, the exterior of the building was designed to have exposed concrete with an applied, colored, weather-resistive coating system,” says Mohan Srinivasan, AIA, CCS, LEED AP, Principal at NORR Architects of Chicago. “When the building envelope was modeled for energy performance, we realized that a continuous exterior insulation product was needed to comply with the updated Energy Code. Initial studies for this included ACM metal panels on clips with continuous mineral wool insulation in the cavity and rain-screen products with rigid insulation behind them. The Building Code requirements for NFPA 285 compliance ruled out several of these options. After some research, we came across the foamed-in insulated metal panel system by Metl-Span which met several requirements in one package; including continuous insulation, air and water barrier, large panel sizes and multiple exterior coating finish options. This is what we ended up selecting as the most efficient exterior cladding system for the project.
“Insulated metal panels were selected for this project as they met several requirements for exterior wall aesthetics and performance in a complete simple package. The ability to get a large-sized, modular, pre-finished, easy-to-install, NFPA 285-compliant product with continuous insulation as well as an integral air-and-water barrier made the exterior building envelope easy to detail and construct in addition to giving us finish options that fit our aesthetic goals for this project.”
Working in a busy part of downtown Chicago places some challenges at the feet of the installers. Because there was little to no room for staging any building materials, All-American Exterior Solutions of Lake Zurich, Ill., ordered insulated metal panels from Metl-Span in 15 phases – or basically whatever the crew could install in a week’s time. Some deliveries were two days apart.
“Because the building is constructed out close to the property lines to achieve as much square footage as possible, there is almost no room to work,” says Mike Underwood, Vice President of All-American Exterior Solutions. “These were horizontal panels, installed from the bottom up. We worked around the building, clockwise, so it always appeared like we had half the building completed. We started at Clark and Huron (streets) and worked our way around to the backside.”
Panels were delivered, all marked, so installing crewmen knew what side of the building each panel was to be installed. One week, panels were marked with an “S” for the south side of the building, the next week, they’d be all marked with an “E” for the east side.
“We kept a forklift onsite to unload trucks and I don’t think we ever had more than one truck delivering at a time,” Underwood says.
The project started in September 2018 and was completed in March 2019, meaning installation continued through the Chicago winter.
“We had to deal with the cold and the snow, but if the winds got up to 20 or 25 mph, that limited what we could do as well,” Underwood says. “We had to jump through hoops battling Mother Nature.”
Underwood says the weather caused a number of delays, including scheduled deliveries. Fortunately, suppliers, including Metl-Span, were able to accommodate the changes.
All-American had to do some fabricating onsite with the insulated metal panels, in order save on the cost of custom-sized panels. “Every third floor there’s a white line,” Underwood explains. “Instead of having customized panels made for those, we cut down standard-sized panels.”
All of the IMPs were filled with a 3-inch urethane core and featured 24-gauge Galvalume Igloo White interior panels. Colors used on the exterior were Striated Zinc Gray (23,735 square feet), Mesa Zinc Gray (12,398 square feet), Striated Medium Bronze (4,906 square feet), Striated Polar White (4,058 square feet) and Striated Sandstone (1,452 square feet).
“The insulated metal panels, as a product, have excellent long-term thermal and visual properties with minimal maintenance compared to more conventional exterior rain-screen, cavity or mass wall systems and their corresponding finishes,” says Mario Rosado, Project Manager at NORR. “This was a big selling point for us. Additionally, the fact that the panel system is an integrated and tested assembly meeting NFPA 285 fire rating requirements, allowed us to easily detail the exterior envelope compared to more conventional rain-screen cladding systems where the wall finish systems consist of a careful arrangement of multiple wall components from different kits of parts with complex detailing to achieve an integrated assembly.
“The insulated metal panels provide the building with a fresh, contemporary look that allows it to stand apart from its more conventionally constructed neighbors. It provides a well-insulated exterior wall that adds to the comfort and energy efficiency of the hotel interior and the striated exterior finish texture gives the long, insulated panels an exceptionally flat surface that is free of oil-canning, resulting in a crisp and sharp look for the hotel exterior. The project has been well received by everyone on the project team, the hotel brand, as well as receiving good reviews online from guests and neighbors.”