Duo-Gard’s Translucent Canopy Complements New Frank J. Gargiulo Campus

Renowned for its approach to education that prepares students for careers integrating technology in several disciplines, New Jersey’s Hudson County Schools of Technology and Hudson County Improvement Authority strengthened that commitment last Fall with a new technologically advanced high school.

Defining the school’s entry with aesthetic high-tech style is a sweeping translucent canopy almost 60 feet long by 14 feet deep. The canopy was engineered by Duo-Gard Industries in Canton MI.

Opened in September 2018 and named for a former superintendent, the Frank J. Gargiulo Campus is a stunning, 350,000-square-foot educational facility set on 20 acres in Secaucus, NJ. Home to High Tech High School, KAS Prep and Hudson Technical, the campus serves more than 1,200 students in support of the career-prep curriculum of the Hudson County Schools of Technology. The design accommodated for dedicated space for each of the school’s academies: Culinary Arts, Design & Fabrication, Applied & Environmental Science and Visual/Tech & Performing Arts.

The project was completed following a design-build approach with RSC Architects of Hackensack NJ serving as the bridging/design architect and DMR Architects of Hasbrouck Heights NJ serving as the architect of record.

The canopy plays an important role, says DMR’s Fernando Robledo, AIA: “We wanted a high-tech look that represents the current educational approach. The translucent canopy complements the building’s cement block, metal panels and storefront entrance.

“As you approach the building, you need to know where to proceed. The canopy’s dynamic, modern shape and function call your attention to the entrance.”

He says the designers wanted to provide protection, of course, but didn’t want heavy shading. Duo-Gard’s Series 3100 Sloped Radius Canopy System with 25mm triple-wall polycarbonate in an opal tint provides enough shade but also captures a high degree of diffused sunlight.

Robledo says they considered glass, but found it too heavy and too expensive. “Duo-Gard’s translucent system is not too heavy, it’s maintenance free, offers economy and has flexibility for design,” he adds.

With in-house fabrication capabilities, Duo-Gard engineered and installed the system’s steel structure including columns, beams, rafters and purlins. They added aluminum downspouts and gutters.

“We think it looks great,” says architect Robledo. “All the feedback we’ve gotten has been positive.” Collaboration included MAST Construction Services Inc. of Little Falls NJ and Terminal Construction Corp. of Wood-Ridge NJ.