Tower at University of Nebraska Medical Center
The Tower at UNMC is a James Carpenter Design Associates project. The project's design team was led by Richard Kress. The campus art feature stands at 120 feet. A private donation led by Ruth and Bill Scott brought this iconic campus feature to the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The tower serves provides a beacon for students, serving as both a navigational tool and an artistic centerpiece. Zahner provided the ti-coated stainless steel panels, perforated and prepped for installation onto the architect's engineered frame. These panels were engineered and produced at Zahner at the Kansas City plant.
Ti-Stainless is a stainless steel sheet metal with with titanium alloy in its coating. There are several methods to achieve color on stainless steel. From the chemical bath process of Interference Stainless Steel to electroplating with tinting agents. Ti-Stainless is one of the most effective methods to achieve a unique tone or color on stainless is through titanium and other alloys applied to the surface of the stainless steel.In its raw sheet form, titanium is an expensive and difficult material to machine and fabricate. It has low ductility. This means that it doesn't want to bend, and that it will typically revert to its form. This is why the titanium-nickel alloy is used as a "memory-metal" for products like eyeglasses. On the other hand, this also means that titanium will take more time to machine when in sheet form.This is where Ti-Stainless has distinct advantages over other raw titanium sheet. Ti-Stainless, also known as titanium-coated stainless steel or generally as PVD stainless steel, is an more economical solution to those desiring a custom color with the longevity of titanium and stainless steel. Titanium-coated stainless steel can come in heavy gauge sheets because it is a thin layer of titanium chemically bonded with a thicker layer of stainless steel. Stainless steel coated with titanium may increase its scratch and corrosion resistance, making its durability superior to many other metal options. This durable titanium-coating makes it a high-quality option for colored metal systems.
The design features hundreds of triangular perforated 16ga titanium-coated stainless steel panels which attach to an open structure. The perforations effectively create a visually lightweight aesthetic.
The tower was designed to reflect the beautiful effects that occur in the Nebraska sky. It combines stainless steel and natural light to embody UNMC’s scientific character and the transient qualities of Nebraska’s skies. If it’s a bright sunny day, it will appear to shimmer. At dusk, it will reflect the variety of colors that are in the sky.
The project was built in the course of a year, and completed in 2010. This is the second project that Zahner has completed for the architects and artists at James Carpenter Design Associates, the first being the Silver Towers Courtyard in New York City. The designers at James Carpenter provide a unique outlook on the play of light on surfaces, an effect which is best perceived in person.