Contributing to the metaphorical heart of Del Mar College, Ronstan Tensile Architecture provided design assistance and structural support for the concrete canopy that shades the central gathering area on the Texas campus. The canopy creates a landmark within the new 160,000-square-foot Health Sciences and Emerging Technologies Complex.
Del Mar College, a community college located in Corpus Christi, TX, previously housed its health science programs in one building, while the technology programs were scattered around campus. Richter Architects designed the new Health Sciences and Emerging Technologies Complex to consolidate the programs and allow room for expansion on the West campus. Additionally, Richter wanted to install a canopy within the development to create a shaded plaza for students – an area that has become “the focal and meeting point for campus events and student activities,” says Project Manager Sheldon Schroeder of Richter Architects.”
To carry out the canopy concept, Schroeder and team turned to specialty contractor Ronstan Tensile Architecture. Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, with U.S. operations based in Portsmouth, RI, Ronstan delivers end-to-end specialty contracting services and tensile architecture expertise for a variety of small to midsize projects. Ronstan is also established as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of tensile wires, rods and bars for architectural and structural applications.
“Ronstan provided useful assistance with product and engineering data during the design phase as well as recommendations for assembly techniques during the construction phase of the project,” Schroeder explains.
Ronstan Tensile Architecture’s rod systems – specified as an aesthetic and structural solution – provided the support required for the large canopy constructed from hyperbolic concrete panels. Ronstan installed its ARS3 structural rod systems in high yielding 2205 grade stainless steel for extra strength with minimal sightlines. Maintenance requirements are also minimized as the steel offers long-term corrosion resistance.
Surrounding the canopy are three health science buildings, the emerging technology center and two towers that delineate a 600-foot-long pedestrian mall that doubles as a shaded plaza for campus events. Spanning between the two towers, the canopy provides benefits that fulfill and exceed the expectations of the project team.
“Richter Architects specified our stainless steel rod systems because Ronstan could provide the best aesthetic and structural solution for the project,” notes Peter Katcha, vice president – architectural for Ronstan Tensile Architecture. “It’s really rewarding to see that not only did we complete a successful installation, but we contributed to what is now the visual and social center of Del Mar College.”
Pleased with the high quality of Ronstan’s installation, Schroeder offered, “Should a structural suspension support system be needed for a future design, Richter Architects would look to Ronstan Tensile Architecture.”
Additional project team members include Maverick Engineering, general contractor Bartlett-Cocke/Beecroft JV, and installer Serpa Fabrication, all located in Corpus Christi, TX.