Historic stone blends with contemporary panels

February 01, 2008 |

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, situated on 14 park-like, tree-shaded acres, has been a community presence in the Mount Airy neighborhood of northwest Philadelphia since the 1880s. When seminary leaders began to envision a dedicated classroom facility on campus, they sought out architectural designs that would incorporate modern technology while preserving the site's historical ambiance.

They agreed to construct the new learning facility, the Brossman Center, in the space occupied by a decommissioned dormitory built in 1888. They chose a design by GYA Architects Inc. of Philadelphia.

The 1888 building was constructed from Wissahickon Schist stone, and while most of its interior and its building systems were demolished, the stone was retained to help the building fit in with the LTS campus. In order to retain a historic architectural presence, GYA restructured the building's three-story front stone façade as a building welcoming area. The ability to reflect light was a powerful factor in the specification of a contemporary building material, Alucobond aluminum composite material, to complete the 40,000-sf, $20 million, three-story Brossman Center.

Nearly 18,000 sf of Alucobond ACM in a custom Lutheran Pewter color and 4-milimeter thickness was fabricated and installed on all four sides of the building by Eastern Exterior Wall Systems Inc., Midlantic, based in Horsham, Pa. Alvin H. Butz Inc., of Allentown, Pa., was the general contractor for the project.

John Kahler, director of communications for the Lutheran Theological Seminary, described the blending of historic and contemporary materials in the Brossman Center as “a fascinating contrast that people love.”

Alcan Composites

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