Like a lot of projects that were shelved during the housing crash, the mixed-used development 3900 Adeline in Emeryville, Calif., had some trouble getting restarted when it was resurrected in 2010. Located in a transitioning industrial neighborhood, the project called for an existing one-story, light-industrial building to be replaced with 101 for-rent residential and live-work units as well as 1,000 square feet of retail space—if architects could make the budget work.
“It was right when people were emerging from the crisis, but banks were still nervous about rental properties,” says Toby Levy, FAIA, principal at Levy Design Partners, which designed the project. “Since it wasn’t a premier location, it was very scrutinized.”
So Levy had to make some tough decisions. Rather than the extensive use of metal siding she had planned, she had to go with more budget-friendly cement fiberboard. But she was still determined to maintain the clean, modern lines she originally envisioned. “Once you make the decision to use mostly cement fiber, the question is, how do you make it look a little different and how do you do it to scale?”
Levy found answers to both questions in Tamlyn’s XtremeTrim extruded aluminum trim. “You’re always looking for inventive ways to create interest and scale while not blowing the budget,” she said. “In this case, it did all those things.”
Part of the reason the trim worked so well was that it came in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to fit with the cement panel’s varied range of thicknesses, Levy says. “We were pleased to find there were some unusual trim pieces as well as regular trim pieces that worked with it,” she says. “This was not a project where we could have invented our own. It had to be off the shelf.”
Levy relied most on Tamlyn’s 4-inch trim pieces. She placed those between the 2-foot-wide cement fiberboards to add interest and break up the siding. Then she used Tamlyn’s corner V trim pieces to give the edges a thoroughly modern square edge.
“You would have the trim piece anyhow and we got an extra bit of look with that same piece,” she says. “That’s the name of the game — making these inherently flat-looking cement panels have more interest.”
Getting all the trim from the same manufacturer also helped keep costs—and construction problems—low, she says. “There’s nothing worse than getting one piece of trim from one place and another from somewhere else,” she says. “You don’t know whether they’ll take paint the same, bend the same, or work the same.”
Now that Levy knows herself how well the trim works, she plans to keep it in her architectural bag of budget tricks. “It did what it said it was supposed to do and it performed like we expected it to perform. It gave more scale. It gave more interest,” she says. “And it was a very inexpensive way to do it.”
To learn more about Tamlyn’s XtremeTrim go to xtremetrim.com/.