Talk about striking a nerve. The Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter, Fla., a $64 million research facility that houses scientists and research teams focused on brain function and neural circuits features, an abundance of large windows facing due north for maximum daylight; south-facing offices have external sunshades calibrated to provide ample daylight while minimizing heat and glare. The building, which was designed to meet the Florida Building Code (FBC) and Miami-Dade County Hurricane Building Code requirements, uses Alcoa Reynobond® with Kevlar® and traditional Reynobond aluminum composite material (ACM) to protect and define the building envelope.

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Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF) Architects LLP, of Washington, D.C., and PGAL of Boca Raton, Fla., were commissioned to design the new facility on the southern end of Florida Atlantic University’s MacArthur campus.

The 100,000-square-foot structure was also designed to meet the requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC®) LEED® New Construction (NC) accreditation program and the supplementing laboratory-specific energy-reduction recommendations from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lab 21 environment performance criteria. The building was completed in May 2012 and has achieved LEED-NC 2.2 Gold certification—making it one of the few LEED Gold-certified life sciences research facilities in the world.

Because of the green practices used in creating the institute, the architect’s building models show an improvement in energy usage of 25 percent above the standard baseline for laboratory facilities. The building’s energy-efficient skin is fashioned from a combination of ACM, glass and sunshades, according to Alcoa.

Doralco Architectural Metal Solutions of Alsip, Ill., fabricated 27,000 square feet of Reynobond with Kevlar, 4-mm polyethylene (PE) core with an Anodic Clear Colorweld® 500 paint finish and 27,000 square feet of ACM, 4-mm fire-resistant (FR) core with an Anodic Clear Colorweld 500 paint finish. The Weitz Co. of West Palm Beach, Fla., installed the Reynobond with Kevlar panels on the entire façade of the building below 30 feet, at ground level, and installed the traditional Reynobond ACM on the balance of the façade, including all exterior wall paneling, coping and soffits.

The Weitz Co., and DPR Construction Inc., of Palm Beach, Fla., served as the general contractor for the project.

The fabricators/installers met challenges posed by custom panel detailing, unique termination and transition details. The project has distinctive window enclosures—some protrude from the building façade, others are recessed—large eyebrow soffits, dilution well areas and penetration details. Coordination with substrate framing, waterproofing and other design elements was also essential.

“The pairing of Reynobond ACM and Reynobond with Kevlar enhances the project in several ways,” says George Rosado, commercial director for Alcoa Architectural Products. “By our finishing both materials with our Anodic Clear Colorweld 500 coil-coated paint finish, the materials blend seamlessly on the façade to create the sleek, modern look the client desired; the high percentage of recycled content in the material adds to points for LEED certification; and the lightweight, flexible panels can withstand the impact of debris hurled at hurricane-force speeds, meeting the FBC and Miami-Dade County Building Code requirements.”