Norwood Grande & Southwood Plaza | Advance Design & Construction Ltd.

Buildings in Disguise: Can You Recognize a Metal Building from the Outside?

By Rachel Mercado

You can’t judge a book by its cover.  Or a building.

Not these days.  Because what looks like brick on the outside could actually be a metal building.  And what looks like stucco could be metal…and what looks like wood could be metal…and what looks like anything but metal could be…you see where we’re going with this…metal.

Metal is no longer easily detectable—it’s gotten sneakier visually.  In fact, it has all but disappeared.  And a great example of that is the Norwood Professional Centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Norwood isn’t your typical metal building. It’s a stunning multi-story office building, boasting three levels of modern work spaces, with each level spanning an expansive 10,000 square-feet.  Located directly on 13th Avenue, one of the most highly traveled arteries of the city, Norwood offers tenants anywhere from just under 1,000 up to 10,000 square-feet of space for leasing.

With large windows that provide natural light throughout the office, it gives tenants breathtaking views and a satisfying modern feel, which was what Jeff Sohn, owner of Advance Design & Construction Ltd., who built the complex, was hoping for.

“We wanted to convey a modern façade, where people could envision their businesses thriving,” says Sohn.  “This is an ideal location to grow your businesses, given the vibrancy of the area and the variety of amenities that surround it.”

The veneer is a variation of glass, stone, and brick of varying sizes. And the overall look of the building achieves exactly what Sohn had in mind.

A metal building has never looked less like metal

Another example of this is the Southland Plaza, also located in Medicine Hat, AB.  This retail plaza, also erected by Advance, is made up of four buildings in total. The first three buildings are 3,500 square-feet, while the center building spans 18,500 square-feet.  These impressive buildings are a blend of all types of conventional building materials, including stone, glass, and masonry.  Sohn himself carefully designed this plaza and implemented large, clear spans for a column-free interior.  He also chose to use insulated metal panels (IMPs) in the design to increase thermal efficiency and drive down building owner costs.  Beauty marries functionality in this particular building, a common theme among metal buildings.

The appearance of a metal building never looked less like metal.  And that fact has businesses of all kinds keeping an eye out.