Fairfield Library, Henrico County (Virginia)

Virginia (United States)
Tappé Architects & Quinn Evans Architects
EcoSupply Center
The weather conditions in Virginia (United States) led the designers to choose an innovative solution for the new library in town. CUPACLAD® 101 PARALLEL system was the final decision due to slate’s performance and its distinguishing aesthetic touch. The original Fairfield Library opened in 1976, so the neighbours were asking for a plan to extend the building in order to adapt it to the new needs of the community. The design team held into account the local demands before planning the enlargement. The architects also decided to deliver a contemporary solution, and this included the building envelope to be clad with a natural state rainscreen. For the library’s exterior façade, they ordered 1.500 square meters of the CUPACLAD® Parallel 101 System.
Fairfield Library

Matt Berk, co-owner of EcoSupply Center, the distributor which provided the slate material, stated:

“The collaboration of Tappé Architects of Boston and Quinn Evans Architects (previously BCWH Architects) of Richmond, Virginia, had the creative vision to realize this. So, they contacted us”.

The hot, humid summers of the county and the moderately cold winters were a main challenge for the designers. The project lost over 100 days due to harsh weather conditions, but the county didn’t agree to extend the deadline.

Site conditions were challenging due to drainage problems that probably should have been considered early in the process. Additionally, slogging through wet Virginia clay while moving materials and machinery to-and-from the jobsite, presented extreme challenges, as well”, explains Berk.

Due to these delays in the construction, the cladding project had to start before the exterior structure was ready for it.

This had to take place prior to the windows being installed!”, summarizes Berk.

Once installed, slate guarantees a perfect performance in any weather condition. Fire-resistance and waterproofing of the slate also made this material the perfect solution for a large building that can host hundreds of visitors and all sorts of cultural events.  

slate cladding cupaclad
Henrico Library Tappé Architects of Boston and BCWH Architects

Ken Rule, CEO of The Vermont Slate Company, stated:

“The materials are 100% sustainable. Unlike artificial products, skilled craftsmen handcraft our natural slate, with no additional surface treatment required. Additionally, our systems are quick and easy to install by any facade contractors. Once installed, the slate is permanently fixed in a safe manner; therefore, no maintenance is ever needed”

“And last,” concluded Rule, “The CUPACLAD® System is very modern. There are so many possibilities offered in designing with natural slate. The systems used are light and versatile… and, can be adapted to virtually any exterior façade.”


The CUPACLAD® 101 PARALLEL system offers an innovative style based on parallel lines, where its characteristic homogeneity enhances the texture of our slates.

Henrico County Public Library (Virginia) USA

Other case studies

More than 120 roofs are installed per day around the world with our slate.

Natural slate CUPA PIZARRAS has been highly valued by architects and has been selected for important projects within many cultural and historic buildings of interest, modern architecture or the construction or renovation of traditional housing.

If you have any questions, our experienced team on slate is at your disposal.