Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association


Dramatic steel lattice drapes building in greenery

G.E.S. Sheet Metal Inc., Pomona, Calif., brought the designer’s vision—and an ordinary modern building—to life by draping the conventional glass and brick structure with a dramatic six-story steel lattice showcasing a rich variety of native plantings.


SMACNA contractor G.E.S. Sheet Metal received CAL SMACNA’s 2016 Tom Guilfoy Memorial Craftsmanship of the Year Award, architectural category, for their creative work on this complex project on the IAC Tenant Improvement Building in West Hollywood, Calif.

The innovative renovation—performed while the building remained active—partially enclosed a fairly standard brick building with a steel lattice that holds native plants sustainably irrigated by recaptured underground water.

The project was a complex one for G.E.S. Sheet Metal. Vertical troughs ranging from 18- to 50-feet long were attached to a white brick façade at their highest point and protrude as much as 14 feet when they descend to meet the second floor, creating a garden awning.

On the west side of the structure, the three-dimensional planted grid flattens to become a green roof over a new restaurant. The grid’s rectangular apertures allow light to stream through, while the lines of the lattice create shade down below.

IAC DETAIL PHOTO 1Creating that look at one of the busiest intersections in Hollywood wasn’t easy. It took almost 12 months for fabrication and installation and required a budget of approximately $1.2 million.

“We took an existing flat-face building, approximately 200-feet wide by 180-feet tall and added a radius structural frame that involved 13 different elevations with nine different diagonal pitch changes, all meeting at a precise location,” said GES President David Lee.

Adding to the challenge was the requirement that the front edge of the framing, which sat off the building at 14½- and 15-feet high, would not have any support columns. The entire structure would also use tie back framing set at specific locations. The tie-backs all had to align when viewing the structure at various elevations around the project to accommodate the designer’s vision.

“The lattice has the illusion of peeling off the building,” said project designer Sebastian Salvadó, a senior associate at Rios Clementi Hale Studios, which was in charge of the design.

Laying out this lattice was made more complicated because the steel frames all had sheet metal-clad planting boxes sitting on them to create a garden awning. The planting boxes were 48 inches wide by 11 inches high.

On the west side of the structure, the three-dimensional planted grid flattens to become a green roof over a new restaurant. The grid structure's apertures allow light to stream through, while the lines of the lattice create shade down below.

IAC DETAIL PHOTO 2“In order to make the designer’s vision come to life, we had to translate between the vertical wall and horizontal edges that were all at slightly different angles,” Mr. Lee said. “The soffit panel design and layout was a convex-inverted design with section cuts. We had to ensure the steel structure and the panels lined up in the elevation. It certainly challenged our three-dimensional layout skills.”

The GES field and office team spent many hours reviewing the drawings and working with the general contractor, Swinerton Builders, to ensure that all the structural attachments were placed in their exact locations prior to taking the shop-fabricated structural frames to the job site. The frames measure 25 by 80 feet long.

GES craftspersons installed the structural frames and then set sheet metal modules onto the structural steel frames to create the subframing and support for a FiberTite-clad metal gutter liner. (FiberTite is a proprietary, four-layer roofing membrane.)

After installing the gutter liner, craftspersons installed a reverse-lap, flat-seam cladding panel system in the soffit. Each panel had specific elevation points where the architect wanted the flat seam reveals to align. Further, the flat seam reveal alignment transferred up the sides of the planter boxes. 

IAC DETAIL PHOTO 4GES purchased the structural steel, .125 aluminum sheet, 20-gage galvanized steel, .050 aluminum sheet and FiberClad, a heat weldable, polymeric coated sheet metal flashing, from local suppliers and performed the fabrication in-house.

In all, the project required 6,445 man-hours to complete. “The GES detailing team was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition using both BIM and CAD technology to take it from concept sketch to architectural feature,” Mr. Lee said. 

IAC is a leading media and internet company comprised of more than 150 brands a including and HomeAdvisor and Tinder.

CAL SMACNA’s Tom Guilfoy Memorial Craftsmanship of the Year Award is presented annually for work in the HVAC, specialty, industrial, kitchen, or architectural fields where attention to detail and expertise was critical to the project. Projects must exemplify teamwork between sheet metal workers, the contractor, and the owner.

Additional Resources:

G.E.S. Sheet Metal

Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Tom Guilfoy Memorial Craftsmanship Award

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