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Vancouver Community Library

The Fort Vancouver Community Library offers its community a place to learn, grow and relax. With the help of the Argeton Terracotta Rainscreen and its custom color process, the building is a natural fit in this historic neighborhood.

Vancouver Community Library with Argeton Terracotta Rainscreen

Miller Hull Uses Special Engobe Color Process to Fit Into Historic Neighborhood

Currently housed in a dated building at a site cut-off from the city by the freeway, the new Central Branch for the Fort Vancouver Community Library will significantly increase services and play a more central role in the community by more than tripling the current space (to 80,000 square feet), and providing indoor and outdoor meeting and presentation space for civic events. By relocating to the urban core as part of a four-block mixed-use development, the library will enjoy a well-deserved prominence in a highly accessible new location.

Argeton Terracotta Rainscreen on the Fort Vancouver Community Library

Five stories of program radiate around an active and organizing atrium space, encouraging patrons to travel through the various collections, browse the collection and technology and to participate in the various programs and events in the library. Places designed for lingering will encourage more casual, comfortable use of the building by the community, and culminate in a roof-top reading room and terrace with views of the adjacent public plaza, the city, the Columbia River, and Mount Hood.

Telling Architectural, the North American distributor for the Argeton terracotta rainscreen system installed on the project, worked closely with Miller Hull in the design of the system. Once the tile dimensions had been determined, color became the front and center design issue. One option was to work with the flashed color process from Argeton. This is a custom process where the base color is morphed in the firing process to produce shading within each tile. The second option was to use Argeton’s unique Engobe process to create shades of color from the base which are companion to the base color.

Custom Colored Rainscreen Panels

In the end the Engobe process was utilized to create two contrasting earth tones custom matched to Miller Hull’s specifications. The subtle mottling, created by installing the colors randomly in a 60/40 blend, lends sense of timelessness to the civic structure surrounded by historic brick structures. The unique process exhibited on the Vancouver Community Library adds a distinctive dimension to the color arrays available, and provides almost unlimited flexibility for designers.

Installation Phase

After documents were issued and during the bid stage, Telling Architectural collaborated with Streimer Sheet Metal, the installer on the project. Telling made extended efforts to meet with technical personnel from Streimer throughout the phases aiding in the successful installation and realization of the project. Telling provided assistance with pricing as well as discussion and review of installation details and process.


Adin Dunning, Lead Architect, Miller Hull

“The details of the terracotta rainscreen were critical to us from a building performance standpoint, but the ability to dial in the color of the tiles was essential to fitting the building into its context. A distinctly modern building in a historic neighborhood, the materials we selected were critical to the architectural expression. And we could not be happier with the Argeton terracotta.”


Jeremy Bell, Project Manager, Streimer Sheet Metal Works, Inc.

“I have now managed the installation of 3 terracotta projects installed by Streimer Sheet Metal Works, Inc. The materials used were 3 styles of tile from 2 separate manufacturers. We found Telling to be uniquely qualified and met all of our expectations. The Vancouver Library is definitely a pinnacle of LEED design and a landmark for Streimer and the community in Vancouver. Streimer is a full service Architectural Sheet Metal Contractor that has been in business in the Portland, Oregon area for over 60 years. We are excited to see where this new product will take us, our clientele, and what future building design(s) will develop as a result. Streimer Sheet Metal is looking towards the future of sustainable construction while providing a ‘fresh’ new look in the industry. We look forward to partnering with Telling/Argeton in the future.”


Telling Architectural Systems

“While working with Miller Hull, Telling was able to turn around answers and technical data in most cases within twenty four hours making the time changes work to the advantage of its clients.”


Argeton terracotta rainscreen system is the worlds original terracotta rainscreen. Developed in Germany over three decades ago Argeton has been installed on thousands of projects worldwide. The Telling organization is based in New York and headquartered in the UK. Telling has been an Argeton distributor for over twenty years and supplies technical support to the design team and installer base.


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