Roofing with art

Eberhard Roofing & Waterproofing helps design and install Pomona College's Studio Art Hall

On Oct. 14, 1887, Pomona College, Claremont, Calif., was incorporated by a group of Congregationalists who wanted to recreate "a college of the New England type" on the West Coast. The following year, the school began instruction and classes in a small rented house in the city of Pomona.

In 1889, an unfinished hotel with adjacent land in nearby Claremont was donated to the college. The school relocated to Claremont, but the Pomona College name remained. Four years later, the college awarded its first diplomas to the class of 1894.

During the 1920s, Pomona College President James A. Blaisdall created a consortium to expand the university, and during the next 75 years, two graduate schools and four undergraduate colleges joined Pomona College as members of The

Claremont Colleges. The school currently offers 48 majors and minors to 1,640 students on its 140-acre campus.

In 2014, Eberhard Roofing & Waterproofing, Van Nuys, Calif., helped the school construct a Studio Art Hall to interconnect studios and bring together disciplines ranging from sculpture and painting to digital arts and multimedia.

A new design

Designed by the architectural firm wHY, Los Angeles, Pomona College's 35,000-square-foot Studio Art Hall provides much-needed space for student and faculty artists. With more than half the building's exterior made of glass, the open, free-flowing design encourages interaction and collaboration in shared spaces, including a central courtyard.

"Architecture is really a reflection of attitudes and values and belief systems," says Michael O'Malley, associate professor of art and sculpture at Pomona College. "The Studio Art Hall reflects a different ethos and different way of thinking about art. The building is beautiful and imaginative."

The building's striking canopy roof system combined design elements with challenging installation requirements. The initial design specified a built-up roof system, but such a system failed to meet the required wind rating and wouldn't create a uniquely shaped roof.

The Eberhard Roofing & Waterproofing team worked closely with the wHY architectural team to devise a solution that would meet the art studio's needs: a tan-colored Sarnafil 60-mil-thick feltback thermoplastic membrane adhered to Cell Crete lightweight insulated concrete. This option not only saved the college $150,000, but it also increased the roof system's wind-uplift rating from FM 1-90 to FM 1-240.

Once the new roof system design was approved in January 2014, Eberhard Roofing & Waterproofing began the roof system installation.

"Coming up with a new roof system design was one thing," says Michael Williams, project manager for Eberhard Roofing & Waterproofing. "But installing it and completing the project was another."

The canopy-shaped roof design was achieved by pouring the lightweight insulating concrete into the desired shape on top of the existing concrete roof deck. A Sarnafil feltback G410 thermoplastic membrane then was adhered to the concrete. Details for termination, especially at the eave, were developed with the general contractor and architects to create an artistically seamless roof.


In addition to the roof system, six skylights and 48 325-watt photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed on the Studio Art Hall. Pomona College currently has eight U.S. Green Building Council LEED®-certified buildings on campus, so it was important the Studio Art Hall also achieve a minimum LEED Gold certification.

To accomplish this, Eberhard Roofing & Waterproofing workers installed a Suniva® 20.16-kilowatt monocrystalline PV panel system over the thermoplastic roof membrane using an ABB TRIO inverter; a PanelClaw Grizzly Bear® II ballasted racking system with eight seismic support posts (which mold nicely to the roof curvature); a DECK Monitoring system; AC and DC disconnect switches; and combiner boxes.

In addition to the skylights and PV panel system, one of the most challenging parts of the project was incorporating fire sprinklers under the facility's ceiling. Before workers installed the sprinklers using a 16- by 16-foot grid system, a vapor retarder was placed over the concrete roof deck to ensure the lightweight concrete did not drip through the sprinkler holes in the roof deck.

Artfully executed

In April 2014, Eberhard Roofing & Waterproofing successfully overcame design and installation challenges and completed the unique roof system installation on Pomona College's Studio Art Hall.

"This project was special in every way," Williams says. "From being cost-effective to meeting difficult design requirements, the Eberhard Roofing & Waterproofing team assisted with the project from start to finish to come up with solutions to meet the college's needs. The end result is stunning in its own right and sure to inspire Pomona College students for many years to come."

For its exceptional efforts to devise and incorporate creative and efficient solutions, Eberhard Roofing & Waterproofing received a 2016 Gold Circle Awards honorable mention in the Innovative Solutions: New Construction category.

Chrystine Elle Hanus is Professional Roofing's associate editor and NRCA's director of communications.

Project name: Pomona College's Studio Art Hall
Project location: Claremont, Calif.
Project duration: January 2014-April 2014
Roof system types: Thermoplastic and vegetative
Roofing contractor: Eberhard Roofing & Waterproofing, Van Nuys, Calif.
Roofing manufacturers: AlsoEnergy, Boulder, Colo.; Cell Crete Corp., Monrovia, Calif.; PanelClaw, North Andover, Mass.; Sika Sarnafil, Canton, Mass.; Suniva Inc., Norcross, Ga.
Gold Circle Awards category: Innovative Solutions: New Construction


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