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A rainbow of races from Latino to African American to Native American to Asian is served by El Centro de la Raza in Seattle. Since its founding in 1972, this multi-cultural agency has aimed to build unity across social and economic sectors.
Recent renovation of its historic buildings include a performance piazza at the south entrance, created by a custom cantilevered canopy engineered by Duo-Gard. The fan-shaped 476-square-foot Sleekline canopy, supported by columns and framed in black anodized aluminum, features glazing of 3/8” clear monolithic polycarbonate.
“We wanted people to see through the roof and view the buildings,” says architect Laila Montenegro, who headed the design team from 7 Directions Architects/Planners. “The canopy stands out aesthetically as it provides a protective covering for the many community gatherings and performances we anticipate. It has become the heart of this project.”
The supporting “kiosko” columns function as a place for different cultures to present visual insight to the community, Montenegro says, which complements the performance space.
Because the canopy’s fan-shaped layout required precise custom cutting for both glazing and framing, Duo-Gard’s engineers collaborated closely with the design team and contractors to achieve the end result. Each of the glazing sections for the 36’ wide by 13’ deep structure was individually fabricated.
“Because Duo-Gard specializes in executing applications requiring unique shapes and sizes, custom projects such as El Centro are a welcome challenge,” says Shawn Mahoney, inside sales manager for the architectural division.
Officially opened on Cinco de Mayo, the performance piazza helps the agency fulfill its role as an educational, cultural and social service resource. And Duo-Gard’s canopy is a perfect complement.
Both the community and the design team, including Native American founder Daniel Glenn, Kim Deriana and Luis Borrero, are pleased with the result. “It looks wonderful and the comments have been great,” says architect Montenegro.
Photo Credit: J. Alan Moll Photography / Courtesy of 7 Directions Architects/Planners