The retrofit of an old mill building in Pennsylvania—a project that included the installation of a new galvalume metal roof—has received the Presidents Award for Metal Roofing from the Metal Construction Association.
The renovation of the mill building, located near Brandywine Creek in Downington, Pa., is seen as a cornerstone of a program to reinvigorate the city’s downtown.
|The onetime mill building was renovated and converted to use as a restaurant, in a program that included installation of a galvalume metal roof.|
“As industries have changed, the manufacturing district near Brandywine Creek in Downingtown became increasingly riddled with vacant mills,” The Metal Initiative said in announcing the award. The Initiative is an industry program that seeks to educate commercial building owners, architects and contractors about the use of metal in the building envelope.
The Metal Initiative said local leaders faced the challenge of how to revitalize the area while maintaining the city’s historic ties to mills and manufacturing. Conversion of the old mill building to a contemporary restaurant, the Firecreek Restaurant & Bar, represented an early phase of the blueprint on maintaining the town’s historical ties while giving the area some contemporary appeal.
Firecreek Restaurant and Bar
“A lot of people consider this project, due to its proximity to downtown, to be the catalyst for the revitalization of downtown Downingtown,” said Tom Deignan, president of Carroll Contractors Inc., the general contractor for the project. Carroll Design Build, also owned by Deignan, designed the project, and Deignan also acquired the building through another business, SHDC Papermill Associates.
The 6,200-square-foot building at one time housed a sawmill and then the Brandywine Paper Mill. It was one of many mills that once operated in Downington, located about 33 miles from Philadelphia. The town once was known as “Milltown” as a result of the string of mills along Brandywine Creek.
Deignan sought to modernize the structure while also using as many original elements of the mill building as possible. The new metal roof of the restaurant—3,700 square feet of 24-gauge galvalume snap-on panels—played a key role in tying the contemporary and historic elements together, Deignan said.
The original mill building was constructed in the early 1800s and was topped with a metal roof. The new metal roof result provided a connection to the mill’s origins, while the bright finish provided a cosmetic boost. The silver roof complements the building’s original fieldstone walls, and the structure’s large windows allow for bright, natural lighting during the day and an open but intimate feel at night.
In addition to its historic architectural appropriateness, the galvalume roof offers durability, requires little maintenance and was easy to install, Deignan said. Galvalume is aluminum-zinc alloy coated steel sheet that is billed as offering a combination of durability, aesthetic appeal, versatility, and ease of use.
More on the Firecreek Restaurant retrofit project and other Metal Initiative case studies: www.themetalinitiative.com.