Richfield Plan Commission tables design for business park building
Architectural Review Committee concerned about proposed exterior materials

By Joe VanDeLaarschot

June 14, 2019

This is the latest drawing of how a building being proposed by Object Controls to be built in Richfield’s Endeavor Business Park will look after construction. The village’s Architectural Review Committee has tabled approval of the building’s design after raising questions about some of the materials for the building’s exterior possibly not meeting village rules.
Submitted rendering

RICHFIELD — Approval of a design plan for a new building being proposed in the village’s Endeavor Industrial Park has been tabled because of concerns expressed by members of the Architectural Review Committee over some of the materials proposed to be used on the building’s exterior.

Object Controls is proposing the construction of a nearly 12,600-square-foot building on about 2.65 acres at the end of Richfield Parkway.

“Their request was tabled because they were using materials on their building that are prohibited by code,” said Village Administrator Jim Healy. “The way the code is written does allow the Architectural Review Board the discretion to consider it in very limited circumstances, but they could only really approve it if they felt it was an ‘exceptional design.’ The design, in my opinion, may have had a lot of redeeming qualities and I think they are close, but the committee gave them some ideas for similar types of materials that have a smooth finish, aren’t profiled and have a concealed fastener.”

Object Controls is a manufacturing company located in the Town of Polk. The company has been in business for 25 years. It performs a range of automation, mechanical design, electrical design, machining, installation and consulting services.

“There is the potential (for the Richfield site) to expand in the future to the west and south for another 7,940 square feet bringing the potential footprint to about 20,500 square feet,” Healy said. “Of the total footprint, most of the area will be utilized as their manufacturing area with the southernmost of the design to be used as an office area.”

According to documents provided by the village, the primary building material on the site is “Colonial Red” corrugated metal as a horizontal element on the east and south elevation entrance and “Driftwood” and “Zinc Gray” Kinspan KS Mini-Wave on the vertical elements of the more domineering elevations.

“The Kinspan product is an insulated panel, but closely resembles corrugated metal or ‘wrinkled tin.’ While the Kinspan product does have a concealed fastener, the sample provided to staff is not a ‘flush, non-profiled face’ as required by village code,” Healy said. “Therefore, both of their dominant architectural elements, in the opinion of staff, are not permitted by code because they are corrugated and profiled.”

Healy said staff would strongly encourage the board to err on the side of caution when considering whether this design qualifies for an exemption as being “exceptional.”

“While there are redeeming qualities for this industrial building, globally speaking, this opens the door for potentially more buildings to be petitioned with a prohibited building material that does not provide a high assess value or aesthetic appeal to the community,” Healy said.

Chris Manske, architect and co-owner of Keller Inc. who will construct the building, said they understand the specific language in village code had been written to avoid use of wrinkled tin.

“But we believe that our design for the Object Controls building in Richfield achieves the intent of the various criteria of the exterior design guidelines and will in fact be an attractive facility within the Endeavor Park,” Manske said.

Healy said the Architectural Review Board will discuss the issue at its next meeting on July 17.