Capitol Federal Hall Building at the University of Kansas
Capitol Federal Hall is a new building on the University of Kansas (KU) campus designed by Gensler, with custom architecture features made by Zahner. The building boasts four stories and an extra 166,500 square feet of space for students. It is the largest privately funded building on KU’s campus.
The building features various exterior and interior metalwork, design-engineered and manufactured by Zahner. The project was completed in 2015. Zahner worked with architects Gensler and Gastinger Walker, under the construction management of JE Dunn.
Zahner manufactured a variety of the project's interior metalwork, including the awards wall, interior wall panels and the perforated metal for its feature staircase. This includes all of the stringer adornment, soffits, fascia, balusters and guardrails. Exterior metalwork includes the metal balconies, wall panels, and exterior outcroppings. Both the interior and exterior are clad in Solanum Steel, a rustic patina developed on weathering steel.
Solanum Steel is a pre-oxidized weathering steel (Corten) surface developed by Zahner. The surface is produced by accelerating the natural weathering process and stabilizing the result. Solanum Steel provides artists, architects and designers with a range of resonant tones on an enduring surface.One of the well recognized challenges of using steel in architecture is its propensity for the material to rust or oxidize. Although there are many who appreciate the visual nature of the warm hues of weathering steel, nobody likes it when the material's color bleeds onto other surfaces. The Zahner preweathered steel process reduces the material's tendency to stain adjacent surfaces.
Interior Perforated Guardrail System
Capitol Federal Hall uses Solanum Steel for the exterior cladding, as well as perforating some of the guardrail panels. Zahner treated all interior panels with a matte sealant that maintained the surface quality of the steel, while preventing the patina from rubbing off onto people’s hands or clothing. Perforations were completed on the raw steel, then weathered afterwards to prevent any damage during the perforating process. Adding the finish post-fabrication also ensured that the inside of the holes maintained the same finish as the front of the panels.
Because the panels could be viewed on both sides, it was necessary to treat both the front and back with the Solanum finish. To accommodate for this, as well as the voids left from the holes, a thicker plate material was used.
Custom guardrail systems are a critical component of providing a design which is both safe and friendly for unique architectural environments. Zahner works with designers to provide bespoke handrail and guardrail systems for their projects.