In Cuba, it’s said that when a hummingbird flies, the sound it makes sounds like “zun-zun.” Joel Castellanos and Pascale Petronin, the husband-and-wife founders of Cafe Zun Zun, used the hummingbird as their inspiration when launching their coffee business.
When planning to build their coffee roasting facility in Cypress, Tex., they chose EcoSteel to create their one-of-a-kind building. The “butterfly roof” of the building is designed to look like a bird with upraised wings. The center of the building even comes to a point in the front, like the beak of a hummingbird. “We didn’t demand that our building look like a hummingbird,” Petronin recalls.
We told a story, and the architect came up with the idea representing the hummingbird in the building design, and we loved it. And other people have loved it as well! It’s like coffee. It makes people talk. . . Coffee is a nice way to have people engage cross culture. The building has the same effect. They ask us how we came up with the idea. It’s a conversation starter.Pascale Petronin
A building design that gets tongues wagging and builds brand recognition was just one of the benefits the owners gained from choosing EcoSteel. Others included the construction of a more energy-efficient, weather resistant, quick- easy-to-build and sustainable steel building as well. An additional bonus was the great customer service EcoSteel provided.
Santiago, Cuba-born Castellanos and Paris, France-born Petronin may have come from very different parts of the world, but they are in full accord on sustainability’s importance. That’s what led them to EcoSteel. “We said to ourselves, this is a good opportunity to reduce the building’s impact on the environment,” Castellanos remembers.
“Let’s begin with Cafe Zun Zun and try to make it more sustainable, because it’s the right thing to do and because we want to lead by example. Steel is recyclable. It can be recycled many times. So it’s a very good material for the goal of a sustainable steel building. If for some reason we decided we didn’t want the business, what we built could be recycled.”Joel Castellanos
Leonard Anderson, the Ecosteel steel guru who oversaw the building project, reports the construction was quick and convenient. He noted buildings from EcoSteel are primarily all bolt-together, like a large erector set. The panels are all pre-punched and go together very quickly.
We had the building up in a week or 10 days.Leonard Anderson
Once the building had been constructed, workers put up the wall and roof panels in one quick and simple installation, he adds. Instead of three separate parts — exterior panel, layer of insulation and interior panel — each EcoSteel panel is one insulated metal unit.
The seams are airtight and watertight, and nothing more needs to be done. It’s an energy-efficient and sustainable steel building that assembles fast. EcoSteel provides the engineered design for the structural steel, the design and detailing for the exterior panels unique to the building. EcoSteel sends the fabricator the specs on the steel, roof panels and trim in an assembly drawing. Everything’s included but the doors and windows.
Castellanos says he and his wife thought a lot about those energy-efficient panels, and they helped convince them to gve their business to EcoSteel.
“In Texas, there are a lot of weather changes; yesterday we were 56 and today it’s 81. It’s ridiculous,” he says. “For us, having a building that keeps those temperature changes on the outside is very important.”Joel Castellanos
Houston is a hurricane-prone area, and in addition is susceptible to tornadoes, Anderson says. EcoSteel was the right choice to provide weather resistance, because the company’s buildings are designed to go considerably beyond specified wind loads. “The EcoSteel buildings are designed above and beyond the local code minimums,” he explains.
One of the biggest differences between EcoSteel and other building suppliers is the service it offers, Anderson says. “They stay involved with the building purchasers way beyond the typical customer service,” he observes. With average building suppliers, owners deal on the front end with a salesman, who then turns over the job to a contract administrator. That person in turn hands off the project to a production engineer, who hands it to a fabricator, who hands it to the last link in the supply chain, a shipping person. “Once the building is shipped you’re done with that supplier,” he says.
“With EcoSteel, you’re dealing with the same person before, during and after the job. They will stay in contact with the owners way beyond usual service requirements of ordinary manufacturers to make sure the owners are satisfied. You have a personal relationship with them.”Leonard Anderson
Now that the Cafe Zun Zun facility is complete, the single best quality about the structure is that its look is as distinctive as the coffee poured inside.
“EcoSteel did a very good job,” Anderson says, noting that the building makes a statement in the area. It draws a great many comments from passersby and area businesses. It’s very attractive, very modern, very unique . . . It’s one of a kind.
It is also nothing like most people’s idea of metal buildings, Castellanos says. “You think about steel buildings being like warehouses, like quick and cheap warehouses,” he says. “When you look at a building from EcoSteel, it doesn’t look like a metal building. It’s a metal building but doesn’t look like a metal building . . . We are making a difference around here. No one has this type of building. A sustainable steel building”