Split-faced CMU is a product that’s representational of stone and can be used in conjunction with smooth-faced CMU to create interesting textures. All CMU products are porous and need to be finished with a paint or waterproof finish. Elastomeric paint is an economical product that results in a masonry system that projects the joints and masonry characteristics. Synthetic stucco finish coat, or exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS), can be used over the masonry to eliminate joints and simulate a stucco wall system. CMU is a great middle-ground product from a cost standpoint that can be used to meet design standards in many regions if designed with detail in mind.
Since the structural nature of self-storage is a repetitive light-gauge steel, roof systems are best designed with a low slope that can make them virtually disappear from eye level. From an architectural standpoint, the use of metal in roofing is aesthetic and functional. While the main body of the roof is not seen, entries can be emphasized with canopy roof elements. These canopies can add to the design and protect entry doors and windows from the elements, including rain, snow and sun.
Other Exterior Structures
Exterior emphasis at the parapets walls can be accomplished with a cornice of EIFS. The synthetic stucco can create a horizontal decorative molding that crowns a building. As an example, an EIFS wall that transitions from a textured stucco material to a smooth cornice is representational of cast stone but in a cost-effective application.
Design restrictions often limit signage on buildings; therefore, using towers as design elements can create a focal point better than any sign you can buy. A vertical design element that draws your eye to the building and says self-storage is a great solution. Simplistic text signage used in conjunction with roll-up doors says “self-storage” to all passersby.
Windows and glazing can be employed as a safety feature and a design tool. Once inside a facility, you feel as though you’re in somewhat of a storage maze. Use of glass at entry doors and at the ends of corridors not only allows natural light into your building but creates a feeling of a safer environment for tenants.
An architect can also creatively incorporate glazing into your entry element with storefront applications. The use of colored glazing and roll-up doors behind a storefront system can add interest and define the self-storage product.
A balance between visibility, quality and cost is always a challenge. For the vast majority of self-storage buildings, simplistic design and materials should be used. However, the use of high-quality materials and intricate details can take curb appeal to a whole new level. The architect’s creativity emphasizes your product by defining a focal point in which multiple materials can be used in concert with each other, with an outcome of superior self-storage design.
Jeffrey S. Dallenbach is an architect and founder of Archcon Architecture and Archcon Design Build, which provide all levels of architecture, engineering and turnkey projects. The company’s award-winning projects range from single-story, ambient buildings to highly articulated, multi-story, climate-controlled facilities. Archcon’s hybrid approach to design-build leads to repeat clients and long-term relationships. For more information, call 210.493.2234; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; visit www.archconarchitecture.com .