Often, the design approach will be driven by expression of purpose. This structure at the focal point of this project has evolved from function, and yet does not express its function to the public. Historically such concealment of purpose has been looked at as both positive and negative depending on one’s perspective, but in this case, it is at the core of the mission.
This project began as a facility upgrade for an existing solid waste transfer station. Due to its high abuse environment, as well as the impact of several hurricanes, the existing Transfer Station building had deteriorated significantly, both in appearance and structural integrity. Originally conceived as a re-skinning of the existing pre-engineered metal building, the design effort quickly shifted to what constitutes a replacement building, once a detailed assessment of the existing structure was reviewed.
The project scope included the entire site, encompassing several redesigned structures, providing a completely updated replacement facility. With the existing foundation of the Transfer Building already positioned within the terrain, the new structure makes use of this massive concrete base, which elevates the tipping floor, allowing trucks to circulate through its upper level. It shields the public’s view of the yard and allows the building to function, while acting also as aesthetic mitigation. This massive Transfer Building, which is the most visible of all of the structures on the site, utilizes typical metal building components and translucent day-lighting wall panels creating an envelope that belies its interior function. The layering of materials and movement of fenestration are employed to break down each of the expansive elevations, and the incorporation of a continuous parapet allows it to avoid being instantly recognized as a metal building. The result is a vocabulary that appears to contain something much more interesting than the processing of refuse.
Delray Beach, Florida
Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County
American Institute of Architects, Palm Beach Chapter Honor Award for Design, 2006