Vaisala, a Finnish company and global leader in weather, environmental and industrial measurements, recently opened its new North American headquarters in Louisville, Colorado. Designed by OZ Architecture of Denver, the office building blends Scandinavian style and sustainable, net-zero-ready functionality.
Contributing to the building’s crisp, modern, minimalist, high-performance design, Linetec finished Tubelite Inc.’s curtainwall and window wall systems in a three-coat black 70% PVDF resin-based architectural coating. As a single source solution for architectural finishing, Linetec also provided insulating thermal breaks for Tubelite’s perimeter aluminum framing, helping to achieve the building’s net-zero readiness. Low-e insulated glass and thermal pressure plate in Tubelite’s systems further support the building envelope’s sustainability and energy-efficiency goals.
Naturally welcoming design
Creating a fluid, indoor/outdoor campus, Vaisala’s new two-story, 35,000-square-foot building accommodates the majority of the company’s 150+ Colorado-based employees and a weather-monitoring operations center. It also serves as a conference and training center for customers and researchers from around the world.
Welcoming its U.S. staff and its global visitors, the architectural design of Vaisala’s headquarters presents an open, inviting and collaborative facility. OZ described the building’s exterior as inspired by the topography of the region, oriented to bring views of the Rocky Mountains through the building. The interiors reflect natural elements of metal, wood, sunlight and earth.
The building’s thermal curtainwall encloses a double-height, daylit atrium and reception area, and the thermal window wall provides views from the offices, training area and conference rooms. A rooftop patio off the atrium’s third story allows access to the outdoors and sweeping views to the mountains. A pocket park on the rear of the building gives employees and guests additional options for enjoying the outdoors.
Durable and sustainable design
In Colorado’s challenging climate, building envelopes must withstand extreme conditions. This includes major fluctuations in heat and cold, as well as all forms of precipitation, high winds and increased UV exposure.
Withstanding the numerous weathering variables facing Vaisala’s new headquarters, Linetec applied 70% PVDF resin-based architectural coatings on Tubelite’s systems. These high-performance coatings meet the industry’s most stringent standard, AAMA 2605, demonstrating their proven resistance to humidity, chalking, chemicals, salt spray, gloss loss and color change.
As an environmentally responsible finishing provider, Linetec uses a 100% air capture system and regenerative thermal oxidizer to safely destroy the VOCs in liquid paints’ solvents. By managing this in its quality-controlled facility, there is no adverse environmental impact either at Linetec or on the jobsite.
Linetec’s durable painted finishes protect the aluminum framing and enhances the performance, longevity and appearance of Tubelite’s systems. Reducing the time and labor needed to maintain or repair office buildings also supports aesthetic, economical and sustainable building goals, and contributes to the building’s resiliency and longevity.
Thermal and structural performance
“The clean, modern architecture belies the complex design of the building,” stated OZ. “The end result will be a NetZero-ready building with extraordinary low energy use that far surpasses energy-use codes, making it one of Colorado’s most sustainable office buildings.”
Engineered for mid-rise applications like Vaisala’s headquarters, Tubelite’s thermally broken curtainwall and window wall meets or exceeds today’s stringent energy codes and net-zero goals. Separating the aluminum profiles and insulating the cavity between them significantly reduces unwanted thermal conduction. Tubelite relies on Linetec for both its poured-and-debridged and polyamide insulating strips to deliver the specified thermal performance. This keeps the summer heat and winter cold outside, and the interior temperature at the desired setting for Vaisala’s staff and visitors to remain comfortable in any season.
Tubelite’s curtainwall and window wall systems are tested and modeled for thermal transmittance per the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) procedures. They also are tested per the Fenestration Glazing & Industry Alliance’s AAMA standards for air, water, structural and condensation resistance.
“Thorough testing by an independent laboratory ensures our 400T system is the highest quality curtainwall framing product the industry has to offer,” said Tubelite’s director of marketing, Tom Mifflin.
Dependable engineering, efficient installation
“We engineer 900RW and 400T to complement each other in performance and aesthetics, providing a complete package that’s easy to fabricate and install, which saves time, labor and associated costs,” added Mifflin.
Familiar with the dependable, high thermal performance of Tubelite’s systems, general contractor FCI Constructors, Inc. has worked with Tubelite for more than 14 years. Some of their previous projects include Michigan’s Agape Plastics, New Mexico’s Gold Ave. Lofts, North Dakota’s Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative’s LEED Gold certified headquarters, and Wyoming’s Frontier Refinery, Joint Forces Readiness Center and Rossman Elementary School – all of which also were finished by Linetec.
On Vaisala’s headquarters building, glazing contractor Colorado Window Systems worked closely with FCI and Tubelite on the building’s 10-month construction timeline. In total, more than 3,400 feet of curtainwall and 8,100 feet of window wall systems were installed.
Productive and collaborative spaces
Opened in September 2020, construction of Vaisala’s new North American headquarters was completed on schedule. Total construction costs have been estimated at $16 million. The building is one of seven U.S. offices and one of approximately 30 global offices for Vaisala’s 1,900 employees. Due to the pandemic, about a quarter of the Colorado staff currently is working on site.
“The new building that expands our Louisville campus is an extension of our brand and our business: technologically advanced, highly sustainable, steeped in natural elements, welcoming and modern,” said T.J. Mattimore, president of Vaisala Inc., the company’s U.S. operating subsidiary. “OZ’s design expresses our corporate values, while delivering an inspiring atmosphere for employee productivity and customer interaction. We’re excited for Vaisala’s future in Colorado.”
Mattimore added, “Colorado is the perfect location for our U.S. headquarters. In addition to enjoying the benefits of a highly skilled technical workforce and outstanding colleges and universities, we also benefit from the close proximity to key partners such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This exciting construction project reflects a renewed commitment by Vaisala to the region.”
“Vaisala’s commitment to sustainability and modernity made the architecture and interior design work particularly inspirational and compelling,” said Jen Fumuso, project architect, OZ Architecture. “We’re excited to have designed one of the state’s most energy-efficient buildings, and Vaisala is the perfect occupant because this ethos is part of their core values, while they are dedicated to providing wonderful spaces for employees and customers alike.”
Vaisala, Inc. North American headquarters; 152 S. Taylor Ave., Louisville, CO 80027; https://www.vaisala.com
• Owner: Vaisala OYJ; Helsinki, Finland; https://www.vaisala.com
• Architect: OZ Architects; Denver; https://ozarch.com
• General contractor: FCI Constructors, Inc.; Frederick, Colorado; https://www.fciol.com
• Glazing contractor: Colorado Window Systems, Inc.; Denver; https://www.coloradowindowsystems.com
• Curtainwall and window wall system – manufacturer: Tubelite Inc.; Walker, Michigan; https://www.tubeliteinc.com
• Window wall thermal pressure plate manufacturer: Deceuninck North America; Monroe, Ohio; https://www.deceuninckna.com
• Curtainwall and window wall system – finishing provider: Linetec, Wausau, Wisconsin; https://linetec.com
• Photography by Matt Puckett, courtesy of Tubelite, Inc.