Jeanne Bellamah Community Center, which was built in the early 1970’s, needed a total upgrade and more total space. For this project, Architect G. Donald Dudley AIA, LEED AP was hired by the City of Albuquerque to handle design, while Kells and Craig Architects, Inc. was contracted as the executive architectural firm. At the first field meeting, the architects took the initiative to plan a sense of order for the building's maligned exterior. According to Don Dudley, "The left-hand portion of the project will be clad in an oxidized steel skin as homage to the age of the existing building, while the new addition is to be clad in a high-tech, ultra-thin porcelain tile cladding such as that which has been successfully used in Europe and recently made its way to American architectural applications.”
"We wanted to use Daltile Slimlite Panels, which are large-format porcelain sheets, to function as exterior weather covering," continued Dudley. "Laticrete offered us key technical expertise with solid documentation that was accepted by the local chief building official, and because of that, the exterior tile was then considered a decorative veneer."
Dudley's specifications included Laticrete Hydro Ban, a single component self-curing liquid rubber polymer that forms a flexible, seamless waterproofing membrane and bonds directly to a wide variety of substrates.
"Since Laticrete Hydro Ban will be doing all the 'heavy lifting' to keep the building weather-tight, the cladding is no longer the sole weather barrier and can be selected from a much broader palette. More choices translate into more freedom of expression for architects," exclaimed Dudley.
"Initially, Bill Furgison, Daltile's Architectural Representative, presented the Daltile Slimlite tile to Dudley for consideration to be used on this job with the Laticrete specs," stated Tim Evans, Laticrete Technical Representative. "There were several meetings with all parties involved, at which I had great help from Art Mintie and Mark Brooks of Laticrete Technical Services. Before presenting this unique building plan to the City of Albuquerque, Bill obtained funds from Daltile to conduct a study on the proposed application. The paperwork was submitted and ultimately, city officials approved the system."
Art Mintie, Laticrete Director of Technical Services, summed it all up by stating, "Slim porcelain panels are the wave of the future. They're lightweight, look and feel exactly like porcelain tiles or natural stone and they are extremely durable. For these materials to function at optimal levels, they need to be installed with high-performance products that come with a comprehensive systemswarranty. And, an installation system produced by a company that offers single-source responsibility. We believe that the Laticrete System meets those requirements."