Project Spotlight: Smoky Hollow

Project Spotlight: Smoky Hollow

Smoky Hollow is a mixed-use urban district in Raleigh, NC, that is blending refined industrial design with progressive workplaces, retail, and amenities in a multiphase revitalization of the area.

In a district that includes office space, apartments, restaurants, and more, Smoky Hollow’s 421 N. Harrington St. offers a stunning example of Fundermax panels matching high performance with high design.

This exterior phenolic panel case study primarily highlights the entrance to 421 N. Harrington St., which is a 9-story, 225,000 RSF, Class A office atop a ground-level lobby. The industrial-influenced design masterfully connects the modern, progressive workplace with the neighborhood’s historical context, and this particular exterior project is a prime example of Fundermax panels being leveraged for their exceptional durability, code compliance, and versatility – all while supporting distinctively high design specifications.


The lobby entrance to 421 N. Harrington St. required a material that would meet several essential design specifications.

First, it needed to be durable enough to handle high traffic and exterior weather exposure.

Second, this is a high-rise building, so the material needed to be part of a NFPA 285 compliant system.

Next, the team knew they wanted to incorporate a wood aesthetic, but due to the aforementioned requirements, actual wood panels were not a viable option.

Finally, the design team knew they wanted a clean look with a closed joint panel system and concealed fasteners.

With this combination of needs, the team wasn’t sure if they would find a compliant panel with finish options that would fit their exterior palette and their original design intent.


Project Spotlight Smoky Hollow Wall Lining and Soffits

Fundermax exterior phenolic wall panels were chosen for four main reasons:

Code Compliance

Any material that was not part of an NFPA 285 compliant system was a nonstarter for this project, so this was the first part of the solution that Fundermax delivered. Of the phenolic panel manufacturers considered for the project, Fundermax was the only one who offered the desired finish in a closed joint, concealed fastener solution that is also part of a NFPA 285 compliant system.


Since these panels would be installed down to sidewalk level at the lobby entrance, an extremely high traffic area, they needed to be highly durable and low maintenance. The impact-, scratch-, graffiti-, and weather- resistance of phenolic cladding panels offered all of the necessary strength with minimal maintenance.


In order to preserve consistency in the design, the team needed a phenolic wall panel system that could be installed in a vertical wall application and then seamlessly transition to a soffit. The various options for Fundermax panel installation afforded this versatility.


The desired aesthetic centered on the natural look of wood combined with a very clean installation, without visible fasteners or open joints. The Fundermax Modulo Plank System (a concealed fastener, closed joint system) offered the clean, seamless look the team had envisioned.


Architect Caitlin Fedor said the Fundermax phenolic wall panel system worked really well in the project. She appreciated the scale of the texture and size options because she could play with that in the design to fit the needs of the building.

Fedor also liked the panel textures and options available, and she is particularly pleased with the clean look after installation using the Fundermax Modulo concealed fastener system. Only the very top points require exposed fasteners, and even those can be color-matched to blend in with the panels.

Close up photo of exterior soffits at Smoky Hollow

The Fundermax Difference

The most appealing aspect of the Fundermax panels is being part of an NFPA 285 compliant system. No matter how compelling the durability or aesthetic of a material may be, the project could not move forward without the code-tested data and assembly. The Fundermax sales rep provided all of the code compliance and assembly documentation that was needed.

The Fundermax rep was very accessible to Fedor and helped her team through the process of choosing the right product, even providing a sample mockup so they could see how the Modulo system would actually tie together in the field. An added benefit was that Fundermax has a local office in Charlotte, NC, which is just over two hours away from the project.

Overall, the Fundermax exterior phenolic wall panels offered the same appearance and texture as wood, but with far more durability, and the installation resulted in a clean and seamless look that elevated the design.

Fedor went on to comment that the panels look great on the balcony – yes, balcony! The phenolic cladding panels were used in other exciting parts of the exterior as well. If you’d like the rest of the details on this exterior Fundermax project, click here for the full exterior phenolic panel case study at Smoky Hollow.


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