The Rock Pavilion

A couple weeks ago (sorry for the delay) the addition to the existing Pure Rock Studios facility received its temporary certificate of occupancy.  This means it is acceptable to be occupied while the rest of the facility undergoes its renovation.  Further renovations include new ADA restrooms, a new entry, drum wing, and lounge.  Here are some photos of the new pavilion as some interior decorating begins.  It is going to be epic!

Oh, and some dude showed up to test out the drum set.  ICYMI:

Deck the Halls

Both sides of the Pure Rock Studios addition are getting clad in wood.  The exterior is using a planed smooth cedar plank.  The interior hall has a smooth finish, wild grain plywood.  It is turning out fantastic, and the smell!! Oh, the smell!

The wood is warming up the space and contrasting with the much darker accents that can be found in the Pure Rock logo and visual brand identity.

Green Means Green

ALERT: This post is going to be about geek stuff.  In particular, insulation.  

When it comes to the exterior envelope of a building, there are many factors to consider.  First and foremost we need to protect the occupants from the rain and weather.  But after that, the building technology advancements over the last 100 years have required two things:

  1.  A tighter and tighter (as close to air tight as possible) envelope.
  2.  Insulation

Both serve to mitigate thermal transfer.  As local consultant XRG Concepts will testify, good work in insulating and air-sealing will lead to a more comfortable indoor environment as well as lower energy bills.  Who doesn't want that?  

I will ignore the discussion of how this tighter envelope has basically necessitated a mechanical air system and focus instead on insulation and air-sealing.  

There is a lot of complexity to this topic, but in the simplest terms, the insulated envelope is trying to keep the temperature different on either side of the enclosure.  If it is very hot outside, it wants to keep that out so the inside stays very cool.  If it is extremely cold outside, it wants to keep that warmth in, instead of letting it escape.  This thermal transfer is further complicated by the fact that warm air contains moisture vapor.  We need to control moisture transmission as well, otherwise we can get water inside our walls which is detrimental.

For decades, the exterior wall has been constructed with stick/stud framing and then stuffed with insulation between the studs in the cavity.  This utilized the thickness of the stud as a space to slow down that thermal transfer.  But starting last year, in the State of Minnesota, the new energy code goes a step further and now requires a "Continuous Insulation" on the exterior of the cavity.   

This science behind it is legit.  This adds more insulation, without any gaps or "bridges" created by the framing itself.  It also moves the dreaded dew point (the point where water vapor turns into liquid water) further outside the enclosure to prevent water inside the wall.  But it has sent some architects scrambling for new details.   In particular, regular old wood siding cannot be nailed to foam.  So there needs to be additional parts added to the enclosure.

For Pure Rock Studios, we utilized a new system to combine the continuous insulation with a nailable substrate suitable for traditional siding.  It is called ZIP System R Sheathing.

In its bright green finish, it provides solid structural sheathing necessary for lateral loads and cladding attachment.  Plus it creates a continuous layer of insulation outside the cavity that is required by the Minnesota Energy Code. This is then coupled with additional insulation inside the cavity to create a wall system that is rated up above R-26.  That means better resistance to thermal transfer and thus lower energy bills.

The ZIP System R Sheathing boards come in 4'x8' sheets and were installed with a prescribed nailing pattern and then seams covered with a proprietary butyl tape.  The sheathing is now installed at Pure Rock Studios and the exterior cedar cladding will be going on this week.  But before the green monster is covered up, we thought we would explain a rather insignificant but crucial detail about it.  

Almost Pie Time

The moment we have all been waiting for--the smell of fresh pizza wafting through downtown--is almost here.  

Final inspections, assembling furniture, training servers and dough making are all on the docket this week.  Get ready, #rochmn.

Top Floor, Riverside

The Winona State University build out on the top floor of the Riverside Building is the continued evolution of this dynamic historic building in downtown Rochester.  

My love affair with this building has been well documented and 9.SQUARE has been fortunate to be engaged on the design of various spaces within the building.  

Starting with Limb Lab and then Cambria on the ground floor, the entire facility is being upgraded and cleaned up.  As a former worker-bee (7 years) on the top floor, I have a tremendous amount of respect and reverence for the building and in particular the top floor space.  I have often argued that the office space is one of the top 5 office spaces in all of downtown Rochester.  

It has been a pleasure to work on the design and create a space for WSU that preserves the elements of the building that make it so unique and insert the necessary elements to satisfy their programmatic requirements.  We also teamed up with LIMN Design Studio and former Rochester resident Mike Sullivan for the interior design.

The design is a what I would call a hybrid between strict classroom/education space and entrepreneurial coworking space.  It has open and flexible pieces that capitalize on natural light and the changing needs of business and learning environments.  Plus it has the technological components of a modern higher education facility.

 Schematic Design Layout of the Top Floor of the Riverside Building

Schematic Design Layout of the Top Floor of the Riverside Building

Now that construction is underway, the space is revealing more secrets and clues as to its evolution. As a lover of old buildings, I have reveled in each discovery to add to the complex narrative of this soon to be centennial building.

Construction is targeting a Thanksgiving completion date and once furniture arrives, Winona State University will be ready for classes for the spring semester.