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MortarNet a Key Component of New KU Pharmacy Building
Challenge: When the Kansas University (KU) School of Pharmacy needed a new building, it tapped Treanor Architects of Lawrence, Kan., to design the $45 million, three-story, 110,000-square-foot structure. Treanor is a leader in designing facilities that preserve natural resources and provide a healthier environment, and the building is designed to standards that would compare to a LEED Silver rating.
Influence: KU School of Pharmacy is one of the top pharmacy schools in the country, and the building needed to reflect the school’s leadership position by providing state-of-the-art classrooms and training labs in a warm, friendly environment that encouraged learning.
Solution: Treanor chose a combination of masonry cavity walls and metal panel pressure-equalized rainscreen systems, backed with three-inch, closed-cell spray polyurethane foam insulation to meet KU’s strict design criteria. One of the characteristics of both types of walls is that they can potentially admit water through the face of the envelope, which is not an issue if the walls are designed correctly. The KU building includes a high-quality air and moisture barrier inherent to the insulation system, plus drainage systems designed to get the water out as quickly as possible and allow complete drying. Brick walls, in particular, require careful design. Tiny cracks can develop in the mortar that suck moisture into the cavity through capillary action, and brick is a “reservoir” material capable of holding water. Therefore, Treanor was specific in the detailing of the masonry cavity wall system to assure the walls drained and dried according to design.
Treanor also designed the masonry cavity walls with weep vents at the top and bottom of every brick wall between supports, where there are shelf angles. Mr. Muller says they chose this design to provide convective air movement inside the cavity, promoting rapid and thorough drying. To complete the walls, Treanor chose WeepVent from Mortar Net Solutions, a 90 percent open mesh vent product. Mr. Muller says they prefer WeepVent over cell-type products, because the mesh fills the head joints completely, can be removed easily for cleaning, is the least visible of the vent products, and comes in a wide variety of colors that allowed Treanor to match the mortar color.
Mr. Muller concludes, “We design realistically in that we know brick and rain screen walls can admit water, so we detail accordingly to get the water out and to take maximum advantage of drying cycles.”
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 17:31|