Metal Roof

Oregon State Hospital Gets a New Metal Roof in Salem

by Amy Stokes, IMETCO


From Western Roofing May/Jun ’12

Oregon State Hospital (OSH) opened in 1883 at its present location in Salem, Oregon, and since that time has been Oregon’s primary mental health facility. In an effort to revitalize and modernize Oregon’s mental health system of care, the 2007 Oregon State Legislature authorized $458.1 million for the Oregon State Hospital Replacement Project, during which two new state-operated psychiatric facilities replaced the existing OSH. In addition to the new 620-bed OSH facility, space has also been designated in the historic Kirkbride U Building for a 2,500-square-foot museum that will exhibit a collection of historic mental healthcare artifacts, as well as memorabilia from Milos Forman’s iconic film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, starring Jack Nicholson, which was filmed at the Oregon State Hospital in 1975.

Alan R. Bright, AIA, LEED® AP, of HOK, San Francisco, Calif., was the design principal for the project. Oregon-based architectural firm SRG Partnership, Inc., provided a strong local presence in partnership with HOK; and Hoffman Construction Company was the general contractor for the project.

Having grown up in Salem, Oregon, Alan Bright was well acquainted with the history of the original ward-based campus. He is an enthusiastic proponent of, “the idea that healing and recovery needs movement through therapy back into the society and world.” Recognizing that many patients would never be well enough to adjust to the outside world, Bright’s architectural goal was, “to allow patients to move from a home, to a neighborhood, to classrooms where they can meet others and learn, to programs where they can interact in a social setting. If things go well in the initial neighborhood, they can move outward into the downtown area, dining, shopping, and developing skills, in any given day, to have a life experience that mimics our own.”

With 86 acres encompassing an open park and multiple facilities that represent approximately 835,000 square feet of interior spaces housing 620 beds, the OSH Replacement Project is among the largest public building projects ever undertaken in the State of Oregon, representing an enormous and highly visible investment of public funds. The architectural partners identified longevity of performance as the primary driver in selecting components for the building’s interiors and exteriors. Of nearly equal importance was aesthetics since, as a high-profile, taxpayer-funded endeavor, the campus would continue to be highly visible to employees, patients, families, its surrounding neighborhood, and the wider community.

With such a challenging design encompassing so many moving parts, having a manufacturer that works with the architectural team to help secure their desired performance outcomes is crucial. To take an architectural concept and make it functional requires a keen understanding of the architect’s intent.

Atlanta-based IMETCO® (Innovative Metals Company, Inc.), a manufacturer of metal roof and wall products, was able to provide the expertise and service necessary to support the unique challenges of this project. IMETCO director of engineering, Frank Resso, explains, “This entire project was on a fast track for completion within 24 months. The design called for some really long uninterrupted stretches of metal in some pretty confined spaces. Alan Bright chose IMETCO’s Series 300 high-performance structural standing seam roofing system for its long-term weathertight performance and aesthetic appeal. The system’s easy maintenance also provides great value to a facility such as OSH, whose focus is on patient care, not roof care.”

Resso continues, “The way the entire complex feeds into a series of courtyards, the architects wanted a single vocabulary articulated across the building exteriors. So Bright combined the Series 300 roof panels with IMETCO’s aesthetically compatible Latitude metal wall panel, which delivers the same high level of long-term waterproofing performance with dynamic visual impact, and creates a complete exterior metal building envelope.”

The 100% recyclable 22-gauge metal roof and wall panels were chosen to provide a service life of more than 30 years while realizing the architect’s vision for an aesthetically engaging, secure, and sustainable environment. Bright and the hospital administration chose Sun Silver for the roof color and Grey Velvet for the walls. Both are coated with a PVDF (fluoropolymer) metallic flake paint, which appears to change color depending on the amount and direction of sunlight. The resulting variations in adjacent surface areas create visual interest and establish a serene exterior aesthetic across the sprawling campus.