In July 2021, Seattle Opera earned LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its new 105,000-square-foot space. Known as Opera at the Center, the four-story facility is a dedicated civic home for community programming and education, small performances, and rehearsals, as well as prop and costume storage, and staff offices. NBBJ designed the exterior with a multilayered façade clad in metal wall panels finished with Fluropon® “Concord Blue Metallic” and Classic II “Silversmith Metallic” by Sherwin-Williams Coil Coatings.
The blue and silver colors present a visual continuity between the new $60 million facility and the existing main performance center. Adding depth and dimension to the exterior, the two layers of panels include the Silversmith solid base level, manufactured by Kingspan Insulated Panels Inc., and the Concord Blue Metallic perforated scrim level, fabricated by Morin Corp., a Kingspan Group company.
“Metal panels are a star feature in the Seattle Opera’s new headquarters, but they play a supporting role in the building’s eye-popping design,” said Brent Trenga, Kingspan’s director of sustainability, North America.
Achieving the desired appearance, Fluropon 70% PVDF resin-based metal coatings offer outstanding color retention and consistency. The reflective metallic coatings enhance the building’s eye-catching aesthetic with a vibrant quality that attracts attention.
Morin Corp.’s Concealed Fastener N-12 metal panels create Opera at the Center’s outermost, perforated surface. The exterior wall panel system was installed by Northshore Exteriors in a staggered pattern to adorn the building, as well as to strategically balance shading, privacy and transparency.
Beneath the perforated blue veil, the foundational layer is composed of clear, insulated glass and the solid, metal panels. Kingspan KarrierRail attachments support the perforated panels, suspending them one foot from the silver-color wall surface revealed underneath. The space between each exterior surface also hides the lighting fixtures that illuminate the façade at night.
During the day, those inside the building enjoy shaded, natural light and views, and those passing by can peek into the costume shop, performance area and other street-level spaces. NBBJ said, “The resulting building brings energy to the street, breaking down the barriers between audience and art. It choreographs the intricate workflows of divas and carpenters, painters and directors, musicians and accountants — all to open up opera to the public.”
Behind the scenes, 44,000 square feet of Kingspan KarrierPanel system finished in Fluropon Silversmith by Steelscape serves as the building’s primary weather barrier and exterior insulation. Fluropon coatings contribute to the façade’s durability, longevity and sustainability. Low-emitting paints and coatings, and thermal comfort were among the points awarded for the project’s LEED Silver certification.
Under the direction of general contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis, Opera at the Center was completed in December 2018. The project was honored by the Associated General Contractors of Washington with a 2019 Build Washington – Construction Award.
Opera at the Center continues Seattle Opera’s commitment to serving the people of the Pacific Northwest with performances of the highest caliber and through innovative educational and engagement programs for all. Each year, more than 95,000 people attend Seattle Opera performances, and more than 400,000 people of all ages are served through school performances, radio broadcasts and more.