Corrugated Metal Applied in Unusual Ways Brings a 1918 Building into the 21st Century, and a TPO Roof Protects Its Icon Status

Dorchester is Boston’s largest neighborhood and one of its most diverse. In July 2013, the Four Corners commuter rail station opened in the Mount Bowdoin section of the neighborhood, setting in motion plans to bring more transit-oriented buildings to Dorchester. Among the first projects to meet this goal is the AB&W Building, a mixed-use facility located about one block from the Four Corners station.

Originally built in 1918 as a car dealership that sold Model T’s, the AB&W Building has become a neighborhood icon.

Originally built in 1918 as a car dealership that sold Model T’s, the AB&W Building has become a neighborhood icon.

Originally built in 1918 as a car dealership that sold Model T’s, the building has become a neighborhood icon. Therefore, even though the goal was to create an active center that connected tenants and others with the new commuter station, Project Architect P. Nicholas Elton, AIA, a partner in Elton + Hampton Architects, Roxbury, Mass., still desired to connect the new development to its surroundings as much as possible. “The intention was to create a development that was a little denser than the rest of the neighborhood but still respected and tried to be a little like the neighborhood,” he says.

To achieve this, the decision was made to maintain the front façade of the original building and integrate it with all new construction. Elton used specific building materials to pay homage to the surrounding area. For example, a yellowish brick on the front of the new second and third stories of the AB&W Building mimics the brick used on the 1930s-era building across the street. The addition of fiber-cement and corrugated-metal siding breaks up the enlarged AB&W Building’s scale so it better fits in its location.

Elton, who is a fan of corrugated metal, decided also to have some fun with the material, flexing it in unusual ways for overhangs above windows and doors. “When you start using materials that you are using on the walls on the roof, then you get to play a little game,” he says. “The material will come down a wall and wrap into the roof; there are a lot of materials you can’t do that with but you can when you use corrugated.”

It took a team of three metal fabricators from Lancaster Enterprises Inc., a family roofing business in Dedham, Mass., to carefully curve and flex the corrugated metal to meet Elton’s specifications. Meanwhile eight to 10 of the metal fabricators’ colleagues were installing a watertight TPO membrane on the AB&W Building’s six newly constructed roofs.

The 32,096-square-foot AB&W Building features 24 affordable-housing units, primarily rentals with a few coop ownership opportunities, and 3,300 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

The 32,096-square-foot AB&W Building features 24 affordable-housing units, primarily rentals with a few coop ownership opportunities, and 3,300 square feet of ground-floor retail space.


Elton + Hampton Architects concentrates its work on what the firm’s partners—Elton and Bruce M. Hampton, AIA—refer to as socially relevant projects. The firm almost exclusively works with non-profit organizations on affordable housing and housing for special populations, as well as community-resource buildings.

The 32,096-square-foot AB&W Building features 24 affordable-housing units, primarily rentals with a few coop ownership opportunities, and 3,300 square feet of ground-floor retail space. One retail space is an art gallery and there currently are conversations to merge the other two retail locations for a restaurant specializing in Caribbean cuisine.

PHOTOS: Grieg Cranna

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A Green Roof Provides Residents of a Senior Housing Complex with an Improved View

The Findlay Teller Apartments provides affordable housing for low-income seniors in the Bronx, N.Y. The complex includes 32 one-bedroom and 131 efficiency units. Its 9,925-square-foot green roof is its most prominent green-building element and gives residents a welcomed view of green space.

Built in 1906, the dilapidated building was revitalized by three local Bronx organizations.

Built in 1906, the dilapidated building was revitalized by three local Bronx organizations.

“Many green roofs are on top of buildings where no one can see and enjoy them. The Findlay Teller green roof, particularly the sections installed on the terrace level and second-floor roofs, has many windows that look out on the [green roof sections],” says Antonio Freda, owner of Bronx-based Freda Design Associates Ltd., the architect for the apartment building’s renovation. “In fact, 90 percent of the apartments have a view of the green roof.”


Located at 1201 Findlay Avenue in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx, the community landmark has a long history. The building was constructed in 1906. The Daughters of Jacob, a non-profit service organization, originally used the building as a hospital and nursery facility. It was renovated in 1920. The east and west wings were added in 1952.

Converted to subsidized senior housing under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 202 program in 1978, and known as Findlay Plaza, the building deteriorated over the years. By December 2007, the apartments had a lowly score of 34 out of 100 on HUD’s Housing Quality Standards. Buildings must score at least 86 for their conditions to be rated healthy and safe. Eventually, HUD foreclosed on the property.

In 2009, three local organizations, the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, the Local Initiatives Support Corp. and the Belmont-Arthur Avenue Local Development Corp. (BAALDC), worked together to win the support of the building’s tenants and neighborhood leaders to acquire and rehabilitate the property.

Roofing workers spread the growing media on the roof.

Roofing workers spread the growing media on the roof.

BAALDC, which strives to prevent the deterioration, blight and abandonment of at-risk housing in the Bronx, established the Findlay Teller Housing Development Fund Corp. (Findlay Teller HDFC) to take on the challenge of assembling financing and renovating the building.

“The building was in a very sad state of disrepair,” notes Joe Cicciu, executive director of BAALDC and president of Findlay Teller HDFC. “We put together $20 million in funds from many different sources, including a major grant from JPMorgan Chase, to save and rehabilitate the building.”


Notias Construction Inc., Flushing, N.Y., was the general contractor for the project. The firm managed the renovation according to Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, a program of Columbia, Md.-based Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit dedicated to creating opportunity for low- and moderate-income people through affordable housing in diverse, thriving communities. Required by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the criteria define standards for green-building practices applicable to affordable housing. Thus, the renovation included a new structural roof with two layers of insulation, high-efficiency boilers, replacement windows and new energy-efficient lighting. In addition to the green roof, permeable pavement in the parking area reduces stormwater runoff.


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Smart Roofing Selection Helps a New York House Reach Lofty Sustainability Goals

Built in 1932, the once-grand structure, known as The Beach House, was in need of a major overhaul. The bungalow-style home, located on the west shore of Truesdale Lake in South Salem, a hamlet of Lewisboro, N.Y., was falling into disrepair and showed signs of age throughout. Three years ago, the homeowner called Sylvain Côté, owner of Absolute Green Homes Inc., South Salem, to preserve the home and showcase how sustainability can be embraced. Today, the renovated beach house is Energy Star certified by Energy Star, Washington, D.C., and LEED for Homes Platinum certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, and, with a score of 30, is a Home Energy Rating System (HERS)-certified home.

Top Down

The roof arguably is among the most important elements of a home. It takes a direct beating from the sun, rain, hail, snow and other elements. It reflects or refracts heat and can make the difference between a comfortable, efficient house and a house where the heating and cooling system is fighting the natural inclinations of the building.

The Beach House features a polymer slate roof.

The Beach House features a polymer slate roof.

The reroof took place in 2011, starting in May with the installation of a 3/4-inch plywood roof deck. Côté did not remove the entire existing roof deck. “We only removed what we had to, so we could accommodate the new dormers,” he explains. Then Côté’s crew of two to three installed a peel-and-stick roof underlayment, followed by a foil-faced 1-inch-thick rigid foam board, which Côté opted for because of its UV-reflecting capacity and ability to reduce heat gain in the summer. The insulation board then was covered with another layer of 1/2-inch-thick plywood and a second layer of the peel-and-stick underlayment, for a total R-value of 41. The fascia installation also was completed alongside this step.

The unventilated attic is insulated with closed-cell spray-foam insulation, which prevents condensation and helps the attic serve as a buffer to outside temperature fluctuations affecting the house. This method nearly eliminates the extreme temperatures in the attic area during hot and cold seasons.

By September, Côté had finished installing a new stone chimney, so shingle installation could begin. An impact- and fire-resistant polymer slate product in black was chosen to replace the existing asphalt-shingle roof on The Beach House. Côté specified the new roof type in part because of its durability, aesthetic appeal and warranty. “I chose this roofing product on my own home and knew it’d be a perfect match for this retrofit project since it’s a very realistic-looking material and has a solid thickness to each tile,” Côté says. “Having this polymer roof makes it possible for the homeowner to collect rainwater runoff from the roof that drops down the gutters and chains into rain-collection barrels. Because there are no particles from the tiles, the rainwater is the highest quality and better suited for landscaping applications.” About 18 squares of the 12-inch-exposure polymer shingles took approximately one month to install.

Then, Côté integrated 450 square feet of solar slates into the south roof where sun exposure is greatest. The 5-kilowatt solar photovoltaic installation blends almost seamlessly with the remainder of the roof. No flashing or connecting element is necessary between the polymer and solar shingles because the solar shingles fill the entire roof plane in the areas where they are installed; a natural divider, such as a hip, makes connecting the roofing types unnecessary.

Although the 15-inch solar slates have a slightly different exposure than the polymer slates, Côté notes the solar area has a gentler slope (6:12) than the rest of the roof (8:12), so the naked eye barely notices the size discrepancy. The south side’s roof system also includes thermal components that are concealed under the solar slates and assist in producing some of the domestic hot-water needs.

One of the biggest challenges Côté encountered was adding two new dormers to the roof and enlarging the existing three. The finished home has five tightly spaced dormers, all of which have three windows; Côté exercised creativity so they wouldn’t appear crowded. “The nice thing about the roof is it dramatically changes the curb appeal,” he notes.

The Beach House before its remodel.

The Beach House before its remodel.

Smart Design

Through The Beach House’s retrofit, Côté demonstrates thoughtful design actually can allow a house to be downsized while still feeling spacious. Originally 1,840 square feet, the house at completion measured 1,780 square feet. Design features include an open floor plan with the kitchen, dining and family/ lounge area on the main floor. Floorto- ceiling glass doors open to views of the waterfront, and the outdoor living space is accented with a wide patio and gas fire bowl. The home’s first level also includes a wet bar that expands outside, a mudroom and half bath. Upstairs, a master suite, which also has expansive views of the waterfront, features a twosided gas fireplace and a free-standing Japanese-style soaking tub. Two other bedrooms, one bathroom and laundry facilities complete the second floor.

Côté reused quite a few materials to create visual elements within The Beach House. For example, he crafted kitchen cabinets from reclaimed tongue-and-groove sheathing from the home’s original roof and attic floors. Wood from a recently disassembled 200-year-old local barn was used to make custom, built-in closets and cabinetry, a bar, three bathroom vanities, tub surround and structural exposed beams.

With a HERS rating of 30, The Beach House is more than three times as efficient and costs about one-third as much as a conventional home of similar size to operate. Côté attributes this in part to the well-designed roof system.

PHOTOS: Sylvain Côté, Absolute Green Homes Inc.

Roof Materials

Polymer slate roof: Bellaforte synthetic roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes
Foil-faced rigid board: Tuff-R from Dow Building Solutions
Underlayment: Peel & Seal, MFM Building Products
Solar tiles and thermal components: Sunslates from Atlantis Energy Systems
White board trim fascia: Kleer from The Tapco Group

Best Roofing Projects of the Carolinas

We celebrate the best roofs installed in North and South Carolina with our final issue of Carolinas Roofing. From metal to shingles to single ply and coatings, these roof coverings protect newly built and reroofed schools, homes, manufacturing facilities, city-service buildings and more.

Judy W. Rose Football Center-Fieldhouse and the McColl-Richardson Field Press Box, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Judy W. Rose Football Center-Fieldhouse and the McColl-Richardson Field Press Box, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

Judy W. Rose Football Center-Fieldhouse and the McColl-Richardson Field Press Box, University of North Carolina, Charlotte


Roofing contractor: Baker Roofing Co., Charlotte,
Designers: Jenkins-Peer Architects, Charlotte,, and DLR Group,
Construction manager: Rogers PCL Russell, a joint venture of Rodgers Builders Inc., Charlotte,; PCL Constructors Inc., Charlotte,; and H.J. Russell & Co., Atlanta,
Metal roofing manufacturer: McElroy Metal, Bossier City, La.,

Roof Materials

New metal roofing matches the campus scheme on many other buildings. It also offers overall longevity, durability and low-maintenance features.

The field house and press box are covered with 11,000 square feet of Maxima 216, 24-gauge Kynar in Slate Gray and 4,000 square feet of 24-gauge flat stock metal roofing and low-slope roofing trim.

Roof Report

2013-14 is the first year for Charlotte 49ers football. This new 15,000-seat stadium was built for the new team and is designed to be expanded to 40,000 seats. The main building, the Judy W. Rose Football Center-Fieldhouse, located in the south end zone, has been named after the university’s longtime athletic director.

The stadium includes several other buildings, including the McColl-Richardson Field Press Box, named in honor of Hugh McColl, former Bank of America CEO, and Jerry Richardson, owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

Photo courtesy of McElroy Metal, Bossier City, La.

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