Nestled between Milwaukee and Chicago sits Wadsworth, Illinois. Wadsworth is a small town in comparison with its bustling neighbours, but it boasts a unique attraction that draws visitors from all corners of the earth. Amongst a man-made lake, guarded by a 50-foot statue of the Pharoah Rameses the Second, lies the five-storey pyramid clad in gold tiles that gives the facility its name: The Gold Pyramid. The attraction that has been a mainstay of the landscape since the late 70’s nearly met ruin in 2018 but was restored and upgraded with the help of Gerard’s roof panels.
The Gold Pyramid was the vision of owner Jim Onan’s father, who commissioned the 17,000 square foot building in 1977. Built around his interest in the concept of ‘pyramidal energy’, he even brought in specialists during the planning phase to align the pyramid with the North Star. After the building was completed, Jim’s family moved in and made it home in 1982. Although most would think living in a five-storey golden pyramid would be something extraordinary, Jim wasn’t fazed. “I didn’t really pay much attention to it; it was no big deal. But every time I pull up, there are people stepping in front of the gate to see what [the pyramid] is.” Jim says of his unusual childhood home. Later the home was converted to an events facility drawing visitors from afar.
The spectacular exterior of the pyramid was made of stainless steel plates, electroplated in gold leaf. However, in time it became apparent that the different layers of cladding were having a reaction causing leaching through the plates and leaking windows. The solution at the time was to apply a coloured coating which needed to be ground off for maintenance and recoating. Then in 2018 disaster struck. During the maintenance phase of grinding off the coloured coating for recoating, heat built up and caused a fire within the wall underneath the cladding. The pyramid’s ventilation system drew the fire up to the peak and caused immense damage. The pyramid was forced to close down while the pyramid was rebuilt.
Jim knew he wanted to repair the pyramid with a tile system for the exterior and after finding Gerard online, he chose the CF Shingle profile for multiple reasons. It was a cost effective, easy to install system and most importantly, had the appearance Jim was searching for. “I looked at a lot of panels, and I thought this one would give it more of a rock-like look, like a pyramid would have”. The profile includes Gerard’s Concealed Fastening (CF) technology, utilising an interlocking design to ensure fasteners aren’t exposed to the environment, prolonging the life of the fasteners and giving a seamless look to the finished project. The CF Shingle profile also offered considerable wind resistance, which was important as Wadsworth lies close to Lake Michigan, near the ‘Windy City’ Chicago. The system interlocks creating a single structural unit, giving it durability even with the harshest weather conditions. This strength has been recognised by a county with one of the strictest wind resistance requirements in the USA, the Miami Dade County, and complies with the High Velocity Hurricane Zone of the Florida Building Code*.