NC State University's Fitts-Woolard Hall

Photo Credit: Clark Nelson

Permalac was a Part of Another Award-winning Project

Did you know that Permalac was a part of another award-winning project? It was mentioned in Architectural Digest’s Volume 20 Number 04 July/August 2022 for being used on a stairwell designed by Clark Nexsen. The article is called “Award Winning Structural Staircase.”

Please click the button below to read the article; it’s an outstanding project.

Project Overview

NC State University’s Fitts-Woolard Hall is a LEED Silver-certified facility spanning 225,000 sq. ft. The building houses the Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. With an emphasis on advanced manufacturing, bioengineering, ergonomics, environmental engineering, robotics, and sensor technologies, the building’s architects, led by Clark Nexsen, were tasked with showcasing the work and disciplines occurring inside while harmonizing the design with neighboring structures.

One impressive feature of the project is the steel-plated structural staircase that runs through the four-story building, earning it accolades. NC State’s associate vice chancellor for facilities, Doug Morton, explains that the stairs act as a teaching lab to demonstrate the load capacity of the structural members.

Photo Credit: Clark Nelson

The Structural Staircase

To showcase the structural truss engineering, each stair consists of two hollow structural section (HSS) bridge trusses that double as a handrail and stringer for support. These trusses are connected by HSS cross beams or horizontal and vertical plates to control deflection and resist buckling.

The staircase was designed as an architectural element, featuring a high Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) Level 4 standard. Blackened steel was specified as the finishing touch to achieve the desired look. The landings are cast-in-place terrazzo, and the stair treads are precast terrazzo.

The staircase’s innovative design captured efficiencies, accuracy, and the perfect aesthetic for the design team’s vision. Overall, this impressive structural feature emphasizes the building’s focus on both education and design.

Using Permalac Original Blackener was essential to achieve the desired finish. The architects specified blackened steel to showcase the structural truss engineering of the stairs while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing design. A high Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) Level 4 standard was required, which called for contoured and blended welds and concealed HSS seams.

After tests and mock-ups, the Permalac solution was chosen to ensure the right look and durability. The semi-transparent oxide coating protects the steel surfaces while allowing the natural finish to show through. Altogether, using Permalac Original Blackener helped achieve the desired finish and maintain the structural and aesthetic integrity of the steel-plated staircase.

Photo Credit: Clark Nelson

Clark Nexsen – An Architectural and Engineering Firm

Clark Nexsen is an interdisciplinary architectural and engineering firm in the United States. Founded in 1920 and headquartered in Virginia, the company has become a national architectural and engineering design leader with ten offices across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. With a team of diverse professionals of architects, engineers, planners, and interior designers, Clark Nexsen prides itself on delivering innovative and sustainable design solutions across various industries.

Some notable projects include Ferguson Headquarters 3, a modern facility that incorporates sustainable features, NC State University’s Fitts-Woolard Hall, which has an innovative steel-plated structural staircase, and the Biotechnology Center of Excellence at Alamance Community College.

The company strongly emphasizes sustainability, utilizing green building design principles in its projects to reduce environmental impact. They have been recognized for their environmentally responsible projects and have received several awards for their sustainable designs.

Clark Nexsen is also committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within the architecture and engineering industry and champions a work culture that fosters equity, respect, and collaboration among its diverse team of professionals.

Overall, Clark Nexsen is an architectural and engineering firm known for its innovative and sustainable designs across a diverse portfolio of projects, significantly impacting the built environment.

Photo Credit: Clark Nelson

Photo Credit: Clark Nelson