Historic New Mexico School Turned into Condos with Help from Santa Fe’s Southwest Spray Foam and NCFI Polyurethanes®

October 14th, 2015

MOUNT AIRY, NC—An historic New Mexico building is getting, quite literally, a new lease on life. The Manderfield School in Santa Fe was designed by John Gaw Meem, widely considered New Mexico’s greatest 20th century architect, and built in the 1920s. Today, the historic school in the heart of the city’s arts community is being transformed into five residential condominiums.

“The challenge was how to modernize the building, which sat vacant for many years, for comfort and energy savings considerations and retain the amazing details of Meem’s work,” says Matt Segura, co-owner of Southwest Spray Foam and Roofing. The Santa Fe company chosen to provide insulation and roofing. “Will Prull of Prull Custom Builders and Eric Enfield of Architectural Alliance let us know that the goal first and foremost was to maintain the historic integrity, appearance, and significance of the building, while providing extreme comfort, consistency, excellent air quality, protection, and all the features of a world class modern condo.”

Segura and partner, Aaron Lewis, knew the answer was spray foam (SPF) insulation.

“There is really only one insulation type that allows architects and builders to increase the thermal efficiency of the building without changing the appearance—SPF. In this case, since Manderfield School is included in the state’s register of historic places, and because it’s constructed from block, the insulation would be on the inside of the building, and every inch of that interior space was critical. Segura and Lewis chose to go with an SPF insulation that offered maximum R-value, consistency of formulation, and could be applied in a wide range of ambient temperatures. “We chose InsulStar® high performance SPF insulation by US company, NCFI Polyurethanes” says Segura.

“NCFI’s 2.0 pound closed-cell InsulStar® was selected to provide a three-inch seal from the footing all the way up to the bottom of the roof deck totaling around 10,000 square feet,” noted Segura. I think Will [Prull] and Eric [Enfield] were both pretty amazed at the versatility of InsulStar®, and the way it filled all the cracks and crevices in the block to form a monolithic envelope.” Segura says the project took three  set-ups for a total of five days for application.

Next up was the school’s patchwork roof, which had been repaired many times in many ways since the 1920s. “It was a mess up there,” says Segura. Not only that, but the roof needed to be Class A fire rated, with high insulation value due to the direct sun of New Mexico.” Again, Segura and Lewis chose NCFI. “We removed layers upon layers of built up roofing, then applied three-to-six inches of NCFI’s EnduraRock™ 2.8 pound SPF roofing system to the 11,000 square feet of space. We use NCFI’s EnduraTech™ roofing systems, of which EnduraRock™ is one, all the time here in the Southwest. It’s great for flat, Pueblo style roofs in this climate zone.”

Why NCFI? Segura says Aaron Lewis started working with NCFI back in 1982, and naturally suggested partnership when he joined with Segura to open Southwest Spray Foam in 2007. According to Segura, “NCFI helped Lewis tackle issues in the Southwest region that other manufacturers were not able to address. Their training and technical support—heck their friendship—solidified the relationship, so that today we use their SPF exclusively.”

“Projects like this are exciting for our staff and crew. Preserving New Mexico and Santa Fe is a big deal around here, just like John Gaw Meem is a big deal. More than anyone, Meem is responsible for what we know as the Santa Fe style. To be working on one of his larger projects is a dream come true for us. This school is a Meem masterpiece, and helping Prull and Architect Alliance convert into a living and working landmark that will continue to have such a positive impact on the community from the people who call it home to the thousands of visitors who drive by every day is the best part of our job.”