The future of folding glass walls is here (and before long, everywhere)
Tumbleweed Recreation Center
For the 62,000-square-foot Tumbleweed Recreation Center, the city of Chandler, Arizona wanted a flexible design to meet the demands of multigenerational population in need of fitness and activity space. Located in the city's Tumbleweed Regional Park, the facility was designed by the award-winning Tempe-based firm, Architekton.
“We created a central exterior courtyard which much of the facility looked upon and circulated through," says Douglas Brown, founding principal of Architekton, adding that the stakeholders wanted "the lobby and perimeter circulation spaces to seamlessly expand into this courtyard." The hope was that this seamless transition from interior to exterior would help accommodate larger events at the facility, and provide opportunities to take advantage of the great weather
Create Seamless Transitions
NanaWall manufactured a 26-panel version of the SL45 Aluminum Framed Folding System with paired panels specified for the design, covering two openings. "During the planning stage our research showed NanaWall was the leader in the industry," Brown recalls. The top-hung system eliminates the floor track or guide that creates a possible tripping hazard when open, providing a truly seamless transition between the courtyard and lobby that has the effect of creating one large space. Additionally, the park staff can open and close the entire span in just moments, adding to the flexibility.
"If you need just a pair of sliding doors," Brown continues, "there are other systems which can do the job. But if you need an entire wall to disappear and turn a room into a vast indoor-outdoor space, then NanaWall is the product I would recommend every time."
The massive operable glass wall splits into folding pairs of panels, offering modified openings when a configuration other than fully open or closed is desired. When closed, the Recreation Center lobby continues to enjoy immersion in natural daylight.
“NanaWall products have such a great reputation for precision of operation and superior engineering, it became a no-brainer to decide which manufacture to use.”
Designed to reflect its rural setting, Tumbleweed Recreation Center was also designed to cope with the region's continued population growth, and the expectation of new neighborhoods replacing the agricultural land uses currently surrounding the park. Moreover, the Center would have to be appropriate for use by a multigenerational community.
Ease of Use and Durability
Brown notes, "In a multigenerational facility, with such a diverse group of users of all ages, the function of the spaces must be very flexible. We needed a system which could quickly and easily be opened or closed by the staff to accommodate changing program needs." NanaWall's heavy-duty yet attractive construction suited this programmatic aspect perfectly.
"NanaWall products have such a great reputation for precision of operation and superior engineering, it became a no-brainer to decide which manufacture to use," says Brown. "The system has operated flawlessly over the years and remains a major asset of the facility."
Stakeholders were equally pleased with the wide variety of finishes available for the aluminum components. Architekton's design team was able to make the best choice to support the Center's overall aesthetic goals: borrowing playfully from the agricultural heritage to recreate the feel of the simple metal-construction sheds used locally to store and shelter hay.
Brown concludes, "We absolutely will use NanaWall again, and would highly recommend them to our future clients."