Opportunity Bank of Montana has two branch locations in the town of Great Falls. The latest addition is an award-winning structure that adds to the revitalized town. Dri-Design Wall Panels make a strong and welcoming statement on the geometrically shaped structure.

The desire to use metal wall panels was identified early in the process by the design team to reflect the transitioning neighborhood’s industrial roots. The shape and layout of the building was dictated by its surroundings—the Missouri River, a primary arterial vehicular roadway, and a functioning railway corridor and industrial row. 

“This dichotomy is best negotiated aesthetically with materials that can be adapted to speak in all these languages and bridge between historic and contemporary vocabularies,” says Anthony Houtz, AIA LEED AP, with Cushing Terrell, Great Falls. “Metal, brick and wood give the most versatility. Assuming these criteria, and due to the durability, installation process and maintenance properties of a tightly specified metal product, a metal panel became the primary choice for the building skin.”

Guy Tabacco Construction, Black Eagle, Mont., installed 12,800 square feet of 0.080-inch painted aluminum vertical Dri-Design Wall Panels in Cyberspace and Grizzle Gray colors. The panels have true dry joints with no gaskets or sealants. Dri-Design panels are single-skin, not composites. They are available in any color, with Fluoropolymer-based paints for long-lasting finish durability. Finishers use a 100% air capture system to destroy the VOCs produced, so there is no adverse environmental impact.

“The raised panel construction allowed the team to align joints and window openings while creating a skin that would accommodate the angles in the structure,” Houtz says. “The finish of the metal was critically important for the project. We worked within two integrated colorways for the design of the exterior, and also have a diffused matte finish on the panels that visually appears to change color depending on the time of day and the position of the sun. Selection of a metal product was the only way to fully allow those design directions to occur.”

This is the first time Guy Tabacco Construction has worked with Dri-Design. “Dri-Design made the project very easy with the panel layout and organization of the shipment crates,” says Mike Tabacco, president of the company. “We are very impressed with the finished product and the quality. The system was very easy to install.”

The 19,041-square-foot building is three stories with room for the bank as well as rental space on the top floors. Houtz notes that the design team carefully analyzed the site to maximize the rentable spaces while taking into account requirements for drive-through banking, landscaping, setbacks and parking.  

“These influences combined to impact the building in two major ways—the physical form of the building responds directly to the remaining space left over after this analysis, and internally, the ratio of rentable area to overall building area became critical to maintain code compliance,” he says. “The result is a uniquely shaped building that takes advantage of the influences that affect a commercial site and simultaneously maximizing investment potential for the property owner.” 

NeighborWorks, a local organization that promotes homeownership, quality rentals and resident leadership, awarded the project with its Best New Building Award in 2019. The building was recognized for its standout design that brings new architectural detail and opportunity to Great Falls. 

For more information about the Dri-Design® Wall Panel System, call 616-355-2970 or visit www.dri-design.com.