Cedar Rapids Federal Courthouse

Metal Design Systems began design assistance for the Cedar Rapids Federal Courthouse back in 2005, working with the designers to provide the best solution for materials. MDSI created a large scaled mock up of natural copper material per the design intent and kept it outside to view the aging process. After the flood of 2008, the Federal Courthouse project was escalated and an embossed LIC stainless Steel material was selected in a bronze palate, with varying colors of this hue on the overall façade. Our Series 70 was selected because of the superior performance of a pressure equalized rainscreen system as well as the ability to utilize varying materials and adaptability to the radius scope with numerous differing dimensioned panels of the design. The Series 70 panel system covers the front façade, soffit area, column covers, as well as interior panels in champagne metallic ACM. The final finished building meets the design intent with a fully functioning mechanical system, effortlessly installed to the radiused substrate with the use of our Exact+Site 3D™ laser Scan service. The Exact+Site™ 3D laser scan was utilized to scan the building and create a 3D model of the as built conditions. We then laid out exactly where all the Series 70 mullions and pins needed to be placed, saving quite a lot of time in field.

Science of Spirituality

Metal Design Systems, Inc. (MDSI) had the opportunity to work with a great team on the Science of Spirituality project in Lisle, IL. The proposed design of this project proved to be a challenge in both appearance and complexity. The original idea for the façade was GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete), but the framing, weight, and intricate appearance forced a different solution. That is when MDSI had the opportunity to propose .125 aluminum panels using MDSI Series 72 Hook and Pin system. The approach for installation was to create 76 individual columns, from grade to coping that would be segmented around the radius of the building.

For this aesthetic to be achieved, MDSI provided the large vertical truss system behind the panels that had the exact angles necessary to create this complex design. The filigree pattern was supplied to us by the building owner. With the help of a strategic partner and the use of new state of the art equipment; we were able to cut the pattern into the upper panels. The aluminum was painted in two custom colors: light gold on the front panels, and dark gold for the backup panels that were placed behind the cut out pattern to create a multidimensional visual effect.

The complexity of this project showcases what MDSI can offer to challenging designs. We streamlined our process by fabricating a mock-up of the project that was constructed at our shop, by the installation company. This allowed them and our team to understand the challenges that would be present in the field and make adjustments so the field work would go smoothly. When the project was ready MDSI scanned the building which brought real data back for our design team to work efficiently and accurately. All in, the entire project had over 31,500 square feet of material provided by MDSI in 1,549 panels. We are very proud of the role we played on this great project/collaboration.

Hilton Garden Inn

The Hilton Garden Inn was a great project for MDSI to showcase our Mind Blowing Performance.  There were 643 Series 20 panels on this job totaling just shy of 15,000 square feet, and there were zero panel remakes for our customer.  It was wrapped up in October of 2017 in Iowa City, IA using Alpolic Cow White on the 6th through 12th floor, entry canopies, and parking garage sky walk, and then Alpolic Mica MNC Clear on the 12th floor penthouse restaurant.

The challenge for this project will continue to reinforce the Mind Blowing Performance that is part of our mission statement.  The timing of our scope was very specific without wiggle room.  Because of the height of the building our customer had to use special equipment throughout the install.  Metal Design Systems, Inc. met all of their deadlines to keep their customer’s schedule on track which then helps keep the whole project schedule on track.  MDSI is proud to have been a part of this great project.

University of Iowa Children’s Hospital

During the past four years Metal Design Systems, Inc. had the privilege of working on the nationally renowned University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.  This hospital is, and will continue to be a very important facility for the community, Iowa, and medical community at large.

Over the course of the four and a half year construction at UICH, MDSI broke the project up into five “smaller” architectural projects.  This approach allowed for streamlined scheduling and communication throughout the build.

This project was quite large, with over 2,600 panels and 62,000 square feet of material.  There were many areas of the project where a custom unitized assembly was the only available approach.  MDSI was able to meet those needs.

These custom areas included a special attachment system for soffit areas and vertical slots that extended up the full height of the hospital.  Series 20 and Series 44 panels can also be found on this project.  The elliptical shape of the building created very complex panels and attachment methods.  This was especially true on the sloped soffit area of the 12th floor and the compound curves of the drop off canopy.

Metal Design Systems, Inc. worked with Heery Design on the development and execution of the project.  Click here to learn about the project from their perspective.  Two different Alucoil products wereused including their ACM Larson, and their honeycomb Larcore.  Visit this page to learn more about the hospital, see construction pictures, and renderings of the project.  Many families and individuals have already been touched in a very profound way by the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and MDSI was honored to be part of the construction of this building.

Cedar Rapids Public Library

The Cedar Rapids Public Library consists of many unique design features such as the entry area utilizing Series 72 panels in varying depths to create depth and space for illuminated panels. Red accent fins were fabricated and installed along with white ACM trim panels, to accent the gray Series 72 panels. Swiss Pearl fiber cement panels were manufactured and installed on the long side and front portions of the façade. MDSI ColumnMax™ Column Covers in white ACM compliment the façade. The project also features a red ACM drum on the roof, and a skywalk element clad in ACM to match. The overall project features 43,000 sq. ft. of MDSI wall cladding with a total of 2,600 panels.

Metal Architecture featured this project on the cover of their June edition. An article about the work MDSI contributed can be found here.

Also read the Project Report by Alcoa discussing the layered panels which give the Cedar Rapids Public Library a unique look.


Argonne National Laboratory

The Argonne National Laboratory project utilized both clear anodized and copper anodized finishes in .080 aluminum sheet goods. Metal Design Systems’ Series 80 was the preferred attachment system. Series 80 is a Rainscreen panel system that lends itself to use with a wide variety of materials. This allows the architects and designers to choose the final aesthetic of any project. Argonne National Laboratory has a combination of same and differing sized panels. MDSI worked with the architect’s design team and general contractor to provide a solution for the range of alternating colors available with copper anodized panels.


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