In the center of Downtown Detroit sat an expansive space of quasi-usable rooftop. The Detroit Opera House, a landmark in metro Detroit sitting at 1526 Broadway Street, had a hidden gem providing some of the best city views available. The Detroit Opera House was constructed in 1922, and the top of the building featured the “Sky Deck,” a rooftop space spanning across 9,800 square feet. What could have provided the best entertaining spot in town was covered in gravel with an indoor/outdoor carpet and tar. It remained a completely unused space.
“The gravel was uncomfortable to walk on and the surface was uneven, so when it rained, there were puddles,” says Jason Warzecha, director of operations at the opera house. Warzecha knew that the rooftop was in need of a major facelift, thus began a project to salvage some of the city’s best views.
RENOVATION WITH PAVERS
As a non-profit, the Detroit Opera House rooftop renovation project was funded by a private donation from Northville, Michigan, local residents Lee and Floy Barthel who wanted to ramp up the Detroit rooftop views. The pavers are extremely easy to engrave, and 25 of the pavers in the center of the patio are engraved and dedicated to the Barthels’ generosity.
“The superintendent of the Opera House saw the value of using the space for social events,” says Jeff Grauer, territory manager with AZEK Building Products. “He was looking for something to put down instead of carpet and found AZEK Pavers at one of the local lumber yards. He bought five grids and tried them out on the rooftop and immediately saw they were a fantastic fit as the flooring to support social events in the area.”
AZEK Pavers are made from high-performance composite material. They are composed of up to 95 percent recycled material like truck rubber tires and milk jugs. The product begins as a shiny and smooth finish, but with age, it takes on characteristics of a real concrete or clay paver. Not only are the products made up of millions of pounds of garbage that would typically be taken to a landfill, they also come with a lifetime warranty against cracking. “I like to say these products last hundreds of thousands of miles,” says Grauer, speaking of the truck tires in which the pavers are made.
Aside from being environmentally friendly, AZEK Pavers are extremely easy to use. In fact, the Detroit Opera House rooftop renovation was completed by a four-person team. Once the pavers were all transferred to the rooftop, each piece was laid down like a Lego puzzle. With the existing gravel rooftop, the maintenance team was able to lay down brick grid bases over the existing rooftop, and then secure the pavers in a select pattern.
“The AZEK Paver installation allowed our four-person team to finish the job in 2 weeks without any issues,” says Warzecha. “It would have taken months with traditional pavers.”
The project was completed using Boardwalk and Redwood colored pavers placed in a patented grid system that reduces installation time by one-third and takes the frustration out of manually setting and aligning heavy concrete pavers. The crew used EnkaDrain 3801 drainage mats under the pavers, providing a flat and breathable fabric that allows water to pass through from top to bottom so that stagnant water does not collect underneath.
“AZEK has the perfect materials to create the ideal outdoor rooftop, especially in a crowded city where space is limited and contractors have to get creative with the area that they have to work with,” says Julia Fitzgerald, chief marketing officer of AZEK Building Products. “Depending on the space, simply choose the product that works best and enjoy it for many years to come. AZEK Pavers offer unrivaled beauty and performance compared to other products in the marketplace.”
Once completed, the Detroit Opera House housed one of the best spaces available in Detroit. The build’s 360-degree views include sights of Detroit landmarks like the Fisher Theater; Comerica Park, where the Detroit Tiger’s play; and other historic buildings.
“It’s truly one of the best views in the city and now our patrons have access to it,” says Warzecha. “The AZEK Paver patio adds an exciting new dimension to the Opera House’s ability to entertain and host events, with views you cannot find anywhere else in the city.”
Grauer noticed the city nighttime vibes almost immediately once the project was completed. He described the picturesque scene as, “bleachers on the rooftop with the perfect view of Comerica Park.” The team has hosted Tigers Nights events with drinks and music for people to enjoy the rooftop. They’ve also thrown yoga events on the rooftop with more than 100 locals coming out to pose on the roof, and the spot has become a much sought after wedding venue since the renovation.
The Detroit Opera House rooftop renovation using AZEK Pavers maximized the space to make a completely unused rooftop into a highly sought after special events venue.
AZEK BUILDING PRODUCTS
AZEK Building Products is a leader in the development of premium, low maintenance exterior building products. Available to a worldwide audience, its product lines span AZEK Trim, Decking, Railing, Moulding, Porch and Pavers, as well as capped wood composite Decking and Railing under the TimberTech brand. Both brands, synonymous with quality and innovation and made in America, lead their market areas by continually reinventing product lines and redefining entire product categories. ■
Modern Contractor Solutions – January 2017
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