The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority’s (NTUA’s) new headquarters brings together administrative departments within its 7432-m2 (80,000-sf) offices in Fort Defiance, Arizona. Dyron Murphy Architects, a Native American-owned business, said its design was inspired by Navajo cultural elements. Traditional building materials are complemented by modern, high-performance, aluminum-framed curtain wall, storefront, and entrance systems.
“The physical environments of indigenous communities tend to be harsher than an established metropolis or city might be,” said Dyron Murphy. “When rural communities are involved, the environment takes over as a very important factor. If a building is not designed with environmental factors in mind, it might not perform well in the future against wind, rain, heat, cold, etc. A great deal of thought has to go into how the facility or the construction of the buildings is going to stand up over time in local climatic conditions.”
A thermal storefront system and screw spline thermal curtain wall helped meet NTUA’s unique project performance requirements. These high-performance, thermal systems are engineered to support stringent energy codes. Even in extreme climates, these products provide superior energy and condensation resistance, while delivering structural integrity and aesthetic flexibility.
Optimizing thermal performance helps lower the load on HVAC systems and reduce associated energy costs, while keeping occupants productive at a comfortable interior temperature. Reducing condensation can improve a building’s appearance, sanitation, and indoor air quality (IAQ), which contributes to minimal maintenance and better occupant health.
The curtain wall and storefront systems’ lattice pattern of aluminum framework enhances the building’s appearance. Presenting a clean, modern exterior façade, the aluminum framing members were finished in Class I Clear anodized to highlight the natural metallic appearance.
Helping meet stricter energy codes, the high-performance, gray-tinted glass also reduces reflectivity and glare, and lowers the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) by 20 percent compared with coated clear glass. The decorative spandrel glass features a custom burning tomato color coating. Bold red and blue accents on the building are also reminiscent of the NTUA’s brand identity.
“A color palette of earth tones, drawn from the surrounding geography, seamlessly integrates the building into the natural environment,” Dyron Murphy Architects added.
In addition to the building’s colorful, contemporary glass and metal exterior, Dyron Murphy Architects noted the wood, stone, and clay plaster materials used throughout the building emulate a Navajo Hogan (traditional dwellings).