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Oaks Commerce Center

Summarize the project's program, features and achievements?

A speculative cross-dock building, this project sits in the middle of a remote residential area in Gaston County, NC. Designed to stand out from the surrounding areas, the building is eye-catching and dynamic as you move around the corner. The dock side walls have a several panel heights that visually present the façade as a front facing side. Potential office spaces have double-height glazing for deeper daylighting and the ability to expand to a mezzanine. Fin panels clearly demarcate the entrances as you're made to move through and under the fin panels to enter the building at the corners. The continuous cedar wrapped along the corners is warm and welcoming while creating a larger-than-life entrance. A clear delineation of the hierarchy of the entrances by means of design order is maintained throughout for the tenants. The building and its facilities including the fire pump room, electrical panels, and drive-in ramps were designed to accommodate a future railroad access should the need arise.

What obstacles were overcome related to the schedule, budget, program, specification, site, etc. on this project?

As the building was sandwiched between a residential area and as existing railroad, site access was rather complicated. Easements between the railroad and the city overlapped creating a very thin corridor for construction access. Outside of the typical construction hurdles, the tilt panels were some of the most complicated to brace due to the overlaps at the corner. Several layers of panels and interlocking fins created a visual harmony yet a construction conundrum on lifting and bracing, and supporting. This was overcome with careful planning with the team on panels that were to take precedence over others, and how they were welded and finally attached to each other by slow removal of braces.

Please communicate any engineering complexities or unique features of the panel design for this project?

Corner spandrel panels at almost 30 ft. in length were supported on only one fin panel in the middle. These panels were crane-lifted in place and welded to the adjacent panels for stability prior to removing any braces. This allowed us to create a deep overhang and shadows while knowing that it's the structural design that allowed the design to be dynamic.

What is the potential for this project's impact on the community and/or environment?

To bring the community of older houses and dilapidated industrial buildings into the current and future was the clear intention of the developer. The flexibility of the building for various tenants allows for a variety of tenants to occupy the space(s). The potential of such a large building elevates the community by provided local jobs due to the rural access of the site and building.

Main banner image for Oaks Commerce Center

Project Location

Belmont, NC 28912
United States

Project Images


Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:
Williams Concrete Contracting LLC
Merriman Schmitt Architects, Inc.
Carlo Pieroni

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Building Types:
Manufacturing Plant
Paint (Textured)
Cantilevered Panels
Interlocking Panels
Shadow Panels
Number of Floors:
Number of Panels:
152 panels
Total Floor Area:
471,328 sq ft (43,786 sq m)
Project Footprint:
471,328 sq ft (43,786 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
50 ft 2 in (15.29 m)
Widest Panel:
32 ft 10 in (10.01 m)
Largest Panel:
1,657 sq ft (153.9 sq m)
Heaviest Panel:
223,695 lbs (101,466 kg)
Tallest Cantilever:
47 ft 0 in (14.33 m)
Longest Spandrel:
28 ft 7 in (8.71 m)