To roof or not to roof

Tecta America Zero helps build The Otto M. Budig Theater for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

In 1993, a group of young theater artists founded the Fahrenheit Theatre Company with the mission of producing Shakespeare for modern audiences. The group produced five plays in its first season in various local venues beginning with Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” Since then, the company has enjoyed rapid growth, a loyal audience base and critical acclaim. In 2014, the Fahrenheit Theatre Company’s production of “The Two Noble Kinsmen” made the group one of the first five theater companies in the U.S. to complete the canon.

Renamed the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, the group now performs in The Otto M. Budig Theater built in 2017. With only six rows of seats less than 20 feet from the stage, the theater provides one of the most unique and intimate theater experiences in Cincinnati.

Tecta America Zero Company, Cincinnati, was selected to install the new theater’s roof systems.

Designed for performance

The Otto M. Budig Theater’s exterior is as unique as its interior. Designed by GBBN, Cincinnati, the 38,000-square-foot building is defined by three intersecting triangular-shaped steel roof and wall panels to capture the creative spirit of the Shakespeare theater while providing a modern look in a historical setting.

“Cincinnati Shakespeare Company performs classical theater for contemporary audiences, and that’s why a contemporary design was appropriate,” says Mary Jo Minerich, a designer for GBBN. “As we considered the exterior of the building, we also wanted to be sensitive to the historical context, harmonious with the surroundings, and design a structure that would be seen and felt as something different while meeting the budget constraints.”

The structure’s design required review and approval by Cincinnati’s Historic Conservation Board.

“The shape of the building and the roof slopes connect to a number of other structures in the historic area,” says Steve Karoly, a project architect for GBBN. “And there are a number of other metal applications and influences in the neighborhood that relate, as well.”

Although the use of corrugated metal has become popular in modern architectural applications, the design team wanted to be creative in its use.

“We needed to help people get past the perception that corrugated was industrial or agricultural,” Minerich says. “We created a wall mock-up that allowed people to experience the effect of the perforations in person. It was one of the most compelling factors in getting board approval.”


Messer Construction, Cincinnati, the project’s general contractor, recommended Petersen PAC-CLAD® corrugated panels for the walls and roof. After the perforated wall panels were installed by ProCLAD Inc., Noblesville, Ind., the Tecta America Zero team began work on the roof systems in February 2017.

“The greatest challenge was the postage-stamp size site surrounded by other buildings and power lines,” says Matt Gennett, senior project manager and vice president of Tecta America Zero. “Staging material was problematic as traffic was heavy and parking space was at a premium.”


On the metal roof deck, Tecta America Zero workers fastened 2-inch-thick polyisocyanurate insulation, Hunter Panels H-Shield NB 2 1/2-inch-thick composite panels followed by Carlisle WIP® 300 HT underlayment and 5,400 square feet of PAC-CLAD 7/8-inch profile, corrugated, 24-gauge steel panels in Champagne Metallic and Custom Metallic Bronze along with matching edge metal.

“The hips and valleys and intersecting planes created some interesting transitions,” Gennett says. “To the right of the valley was one color and to the left was another, so we had to match the color with our coping. We also had to pay attention to how the siding was being installed so we could match the metal to the siding and follow the transitions from color to color.”

All copings and flashings were fabricated by Tecta America Zero craftsmen in the company’s off-site shop. Workers also installed two rows of snow guards.

TPO membrane

In addition to the intricate metal roof system, an 8,300-square-foot Carlisle SynTec TPO membrane roof system was installed over the roof areas on the main structure and mechanical well. Workers laid an air and vapor barrier over the metal deck followed by two layers of 2-inch-thick flat stock and additional tapered polyisocyanurate for drainage. The polyisocyanurate then was covered with 1/2-inch-thick Sheetrock® Brand Gypsum Panels before adhering the 60-mil-thick TPO membrane in gray.

All the world’s a stage

In March 2017, Tecta America Zero completed work on The Otto M. Budig Theater. According to Brian Isaac Phillips, producing artistic director for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, reaction to the theater’s design has been extremely positive.

“I think the final [product] is a wonderful combination of everything we wanted artistically and everything we wanted for our patron experience, as well,” Phillips says.

Jonathan Wolf, president of Tecta America Zero, attributes the theater’s well-choreographed design and construction to having a professional team of workers.

“The finished product looks amazing,” Wolf says. “The high level of teamwork and coordination between the owner, architect, general contractor and other trades was something we hope for on every job. It is rewarding to be part of the renaissance that is going on in our downtown area.”

For demonstrating exceptional workmanship on The Otto M. Budig Theater, Tecta America Zero was named a 2019 Gold Circle Awards finalist by the Roofing Alliance in the innovative solutions category.

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

Project name: The Otto M. Budig Theater
Project location: Cincinnati
Project duration: February–March 2017
Roof system types: Steel panels and TPO membrane
Roofing contractor: Tecta America Zero Company, Cincinnati
Roofing manufacturers: Carlisle® WIP Products, Carlisle, Pa.; Hunter Panels, Portland, Maine; Petersen Aluminum Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill.; USG Corp., Chicago


Be the first to comment. Please log in to leave a comment.