A long, monotonous headquarters was not the image restaurant supply company KaTom was looking to portray when it moved to Kodak, Tennessee. The group, therefore, set out to reimagine the 2005 log home manufacturing facility it purchased to serve as its new headquarters. A Dri-Design Wall Panel System helped achieve this goal by creating a welcoming structure reflective of the company culture and purpose.

Under the lead of architectural firm R2R Studio LLC, Knoxville, Tenn., KaTom personnel reviewed photos of previous Dri-Design projects to discover the versatility of the panel profiles, available configurations and color offerings. The team wanted to add dimension to the original metal building, inviting customers and employees to the site. Dri-Design 0.080-inch aluminum panels were manufactured in three colors—Copperwire, Dovetail and Gauntlet Gray—to create a corporate presence. Dri-Design made the mixing of panel sizes and colors uncomplicated.

“The shop drawing review process is critical and very helpful when working with patterns, colors and a variety of panel sizes on a building,” said Lisa Bengston, AIA, LEED AP, with R2R Studio.

R2R Studio had never worked with Dri-Design panels. What attracted them to the system was the panels’ aesthetic appeal, functionality and technological advancements.  Ease of installation also made the list. “The Dri-Design panels were able to be installed over the existing metal building facade, lowering the risk of exposing the occupied offices inside to water penetration,” Bengston said. “This method meant that the occupied offices inside suffered minimal disruption during the construction of the new facade.”

Rhett Coleman, LEED AP, senior project manager with general contractor Blaine Construction Corp., Knoxville, noted the panels were quick and easy to install. A plywood substrate and air barrier were fastened to the building before the Dri-Design panels were installed over the existing vertical ribbed metal panels. Keith Edmondson Construction, Knoxville, installed 3,877 square feet of the Dri-Design panels. Stone veneer and EIFS complete the exterior look.

“When the folks at R2R Studio first showed me the Dri-Design panels, I knew instantly it would be the perfect complement to the plan we had for our new headquarters,” KaTom Founder, CEO, and President Patricia Bible said. “Still, I could not have imagined how magnificent the final product would be. What we have now is a building that is both welcoming to customers and befitting a company that is a leader in its industry. And the fact that we were able to move in and start work in our new home while the panels were being installed was a huge selling point for me.”

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