Merritt Island, Florida
Interstellar travel of tomorrow comes into clear focus at the new Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. With a focus on the present and future of collaborative space exploration, guests to Gateway can experience the interstellar travel of tomorrow while celebrating everything happening right now within the space program. Through immersive education, atmospheric effects and a motion theater experience, guests see, hear and feel what it’s like to travel in space.
The visitor complex’s coastal Florida location meant the facility’s exterior walls needed to withstand constant exposure to salty ocean air and endure hurricane-strength winds. Architects turned to CENTRIA for a durable, smart building envelope solution that would also be emblematic of space travel.
The design team worked with CENTRIA & FIVE-T-CO from the start to find the optimal exterior panel solution for Gateway that would meet the long list of criteria and come in the right custom color. In total, architects specified 85,898 square feet of CENTRIA panels for the building envelope.
“CENTRIA checked all the boxes of our requirements for the panels to follow the curvature of the building, the colored panels we were looking for, and the thermal performance and wind resistance requirements for Central Florida,” said Rob Bartlett, principal at BRPH, the architectural and engineering firm for the project. “Gateway is the backdrop to the Rocket Garden, and the panels work in harmony with the existing visitor complex features.”
Nearly half of the exterior is comprised of CENTRIA Intercept Entyre, a modular metal wall panel. FIVE-T-CO, CENTRIA’s premier dealer out of Sarasota, Florida, used their construction crews to install the exterior wall panel over CENTRIA’S MetalWrap, thereby creating an insulated rainscreen system. As a backup system, MetalWrap allowed the building to be dried in quickly, securing the interior from the elements and enabling construction on interior and exterior features to move forward simultaneously. CENTRIA provided a combination of Silversmith and a custom Kolorshift chameleon color to transition from a deep purple to a light green as you walk around the building’s prominent curves.
“The Kolorshift colors are evocative of space travel and the night sky. They were appealing to the entire project team,” Bartlett said. “The finish system promised to keep its quality and appearance over a long period, and our client had a level of comfort that Kolorshift would meet maintenance and durability needs.”
As a modular metal wall panel, Intercept Entyre offers smooth planes and clean sight lines and integrates seamlessly with a continuous engagement extrusion. Concealed fasteners work in conjunction with sequentially installed modular panel units. Intercept is compliant with High-Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) and AAMA 508 regulations. It is noncombustible and carries a Living Future Declare Label, which contributes to a project’s sustainability credentials.
Kolorshift is an iridescent PVDF architectural coating that changes hues with varying angles of light, dynamically shifting from one color to another as light reaches it resulting in a continuous color gradient.
MetalWrap is an insulated composite backup panel system that serves as the ultimate backup wall for nearly any type of exterior rainscreen system. Designed with CENTRIA's innovative advanced thermal and moisture protection (ATMP) technology, MetalWrap consists of two steel skins that are permanently bonded to a poured-in-place foam insulating core. MetalWrap provides thermal, air, water, and vapor barriers in a composite assembly.
The other half of the building envelope was comprised of Versawall 2 3/4-inch panels in Gray Velvet. FIVE-T-CO installed Versawall on areas of the complex that were not as public facing to provide high-performance and aesthetics without the custom coloring.
Versawall lightweight insulated wall panels lower installation costs and reduce support steel requirement with an increased span capability. A thermal break between face and liner saves energy. The factory-applied panel joint sealant, together with field-applied sealant, create an air and vapor barrier that provides exceptional weather resistance.
Initial designs began in 2017 leading up to construction beginning in March 2020. After two years of construction, Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex opened on June 15, 2022. Gateway is LEED Silver certified.