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Tiny chapel’s metal skin helps bring hope to homeless

The disabled and chronically homeless in Central Texas receive affordable, sustainable housing and support through Community First! Village, a 27-acre, master planned community. The community operates thanks in part to donations from numerous businesses and individuals, including Petersen, which donated architectural metal products to the community’s tiny but significant Hope Chapel.

Gerard D’Arcy, project architect at Sixthriver Architects in Austin, Texas, asked Petersen to donate material for construction of the village chapel. “We had specified Petersen on several previous projects and knew PAC-CLAD panels would work well on our job,” D’Arcy said. D’Arcy partnered with long-time friend and fellow architect David Carroll, project architect at Hatch Ulland Owen Architects, also in Austin, as well as Balfour Beatty Construction, to design and build the chapel.

Like the other structures in the Village, the chapel is “micro” but provides residents with a pleasant sanctuary for contemplation and reflection. Known as Hope Chapel, the design for the building was influenced by passages from the Bible, D’Arcy said. According to Christian beliefs, the wandering Israelites carried a portable structure that was erected for worship at each site where they stopped. “Our research indicated the structure was called a tabernacle. It was a simple gable form. We based our design concept on illustrations of the tabernacle and wanted the roof-to-wall transition to be seamless at the eave in order to achieve a related look,” D’Arcy explained.

That seamless look was achieved with approximately 1,100 sq. ft. of Petersen’s Snap-Clad panels that were donated to meet the project’s objectives. “It’s fairly common for Snap-Clad to be used in an application where the designer wants one continuous panel to form the roof as well as the walls,” said Chris Headley, sales representative working in Petersen’s plant in Tyler, Texas, where the panels were fabricated. The PAC-CLAD panels were finished in custom color Pinnacle Bronze. “The structure is small, but it’s nicely designed and the Snap-Clad panels really make it look great. We were pleased to be able to participate in such a worthwhile project,” Headley said.

Installation of the PAC-CLAD panels was provided as a donation by Barker Roofing, Austin.

The Community First! Village is a project of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, a Christian charitable organization that began in 1998 delivering meals from the back of a minivan to homeless men and women living on the streets of Austin. Community First! Village provides housing for 225 formerly homeless people in stand-alone units consisting of custom “micro homes,” retrofitted RVs and canvas-sided cottages. Construction of the various dwellings relies almost entirely on the generosity of area businesses.

To date, Mobile Loaves & Fishes has served more than 4 million meals and is supported by a network of 18,000 volunteers working in multiple cities throughout the United States.

Long-recognized for its metal standing seam roofing products, Petersen also offers metal wall panels including exposed fastener panels, flush panels, composite wall panels, fascia and coping systems, and column covers. All provide the well-known Petersen quality and are available in PAC-CLAD 70% PVDF finish in more than 40 colors on steel and aluminum. Most colors meet LEED, and Cool Roof Rating Council certification requirements.