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Architect Neil MacDonald on Moeding Alphaton terra cotta tiles

April 01, 2007 |

Manufactured by German-based Moeding and distributed in the U.S. by Shildan, Gloucester City, N.J., Alphaton terra cotta double-leaf tiles are ideal for rain screen wall applications. Available in 18 colors, five finishes, and a variety of sizes up to one-foot high and three-feet long, the 13/8-inch-thick tiles are frost- and fade-proof, nonflammable, resistant to salt water, and fully recyclable.

Neil MacDonald, partner with William F. Collins AIA Architects, Setauket, N.Y., specified a Alphaton terra cotta rain screen system to clad the aging U.S. Post Office facility in Seaford, N.Y. More than 4,000 sf of terra cotta in two contrasting colors (Red Oxcide and Pearl Grey) wrap the existing brick masonry walls to create a low-maintenance, protective rain screen that also provides a vibrant, fresh aesthetic for the facility. A metal framing substructure fastened to the existing masonry wall supports the 9x17-inch terra cotta tiles, forming the rain screen system.

Why Neil MacDonald specified Alphaton terra cotta tiles:

“The USPS is a streamlined organization and low-maintenance products are very appealing to them. The terra cotta rain screen is a caulkless system, so there’s no need for any kind of ongoing maintenance like repointing and caulking. Plus, the tiles are made of 100% natural clay with no artificial pigments, so there’s no need for any type of painting or coating down the road.”

“The system is fundamentally a sustainable building product. The terra cotta itself has a life expectancy of more than 80 years.”

“The terra cotta provides a fresh, clean look to the building. It has warmth and a quality that is very familiar and very easy to relate to on both a scale and textual quality. The cladding blends with the context of the surrounding community.”


Neil MacDonald, AIA

Partner, William F. Collins AIA Architects, Setauket, N.Y.

Neil MacDonald is the newest partner at William F. Collins AIA Architects, Setauket, N.Y., where he handles the firm’s work for the U.S. Postal Service, Cingular, KeySpan Energy, T-Mobile, and Sprint PCS.

MacDonald has played a key role in establishing WFC as a leader in the commercial renovation, restack, and rebuild market. Projects include the historic restoration and interior design of Verizon’s 140 West Street building in lower Manhattan, and the post-merger planning and consolidation projects for Chase and Chemical Bank, and LILCO and Brooklyn Union.

MacDonald holds a BArch from the University of Buffalo.
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