Category: Institutional Buildings
Location: Loyola University: New Orleans, LA.
Size: 114,000 sf
Masonry Used: 47,000 sq ft - Corium Rainscreen System
Submitted By: Rush Masonry, Inc.

Project Description

The renovation of New Orleans’ Loyola University’s Monroe Hall is part of a campus-wide construction project that began in 2012. Plans included adding 114,000 square feet to the building, along with a new façade to ‘fit in’ with the other campus structures. Original plans for renovation called for a new high-performance façade with a terra cotta panel system that would stand up to the high-humidity and often harsh climate events common to the New Orleans area. When costs came in over budget while still on the drawing board, the university looked for an alternative solution.

The idea was to find a façade that would incorporate not only the performance expected with the terra cotta rainscreen system, but also yield an attractive, traditional appearance similar in color and style with the existing masonry buildings on campus. Rush Masonry’s Randall Rush evaluated a number of alternatives. Traditional brick was too heavy for the structure, thin stone did not match the surrounding buildings, and a thin adhered brick was not desirable to the design team. Rush Masonry became aware of a thin brick rainscreen system called Corium which has a 15 year history in Europe, but had never been used on a project in the United States. Rush evaluated and submitted the Corium system as high-performance, energy efficient, attractive, innovative and cost saving alternative for the university.

The design team reviewed every aspect of the system including performance, weight, useful life, energy savings, and aesthetics. The Corium system's light weight (14 lbs per sq ft), ability to accept insulation board up to 5", ability to match the appearance of surrounding buildings, and overall cost savings were attractive attributes for all parties involved in the project. From a technical and performance standpoint, the 47,000 square feet of Corium used for the project ultimately provided a wall assembly ideally suited to the extreme weather conditions in New Orleans. New Orleans is in a Hurricane Zone with very high humidity, high winds, wind driven rain, and extremely punishing wind pressures.

Before final approval of the product, additional testing was required to assure that the Corium system could handle the stresses of a hurricane zone. The system passed without a flaw and was selected for use on the project. Together with the general contractor, design team, and Corium, Rush Masonry was able to not only satisfy the design intent of the building, but also satisfy the university by offering substantial cost savings and help put the project in budget.