Kistler Project Spotlight: the Westin at Infinite Energy Center

Here at Kistler, we have the opportunity to work on a lot of high-profile, innovative projects. A recent example is our work on the Westin at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Georgia.

Originally opened in 1992, the center and its campus are a hub of exciting activity in Gwinnett County, hosting internationally renowned entertainers, professional sports, and large conferences and trade shows. 

Our addition to the campus is a large, strikingly attractive canopy that gives campus visitors protection from the elements – especially rain and excessive heat.

The architect had seen our canopies and was impressed, so they asked us to design something from the ground up that would be unique for the Westin. We’d done similar canopies in the past, but nothing of this scale. The canopy is 108 feet long and 47 feet deep – making over a whopping 5,000 square feet. It’s a V-shaped, double-winged canopy with a large cantilever that’s custom and quite unique. It’s located at one of the entrances to the convention center.

To create the canopy, we used our Kalwall cladding daylighting™ panels over an aluminum box beam system for the structure. We are the official state distributor for Kalwall in Georgia and Alabama. Kalwall’s ability to provide structural attachment as well as the panels themselves made their materials a great solution for us. Most canopies we work on are steel frames that we clad the panels to, but for this project, we were able to provide a ground-up turnkey solution. 

Our strategic partner, Structures Unlimited, provided the aluminum box beam system that was ideal for this project since steel would have been too heavy and too expensive. It functioned sort of like a skeleton that the Kalwall panels attached to. It was a unique engineered solution that allowed us to build without ever measuring anything. Once the drawings were approved, we got to work on the implementation!

One of the biggest challenges with this project was the timeline. The project design started in early 2020 but didn’t install until mid-2023. As you might imagine, COVID played a huge part in that. We were able to help keep costs down for the client by recognizing ahead of time the looming price increases in materials. We early-ordered as many of the materials as we could, prefabricated as much as possible, and stored those elements on-site to reduce the impact of those price increases. 

The client really appreciated the fact that we provided a custom, turnkey solution within budget and delivered a beautiful, functional final product – and we’re extremely proud of that.

Client quote: “I was very impressed with the Kalwall Canopy at the Westin & would be delighted to see this system again on future projects. Design and installation went smooth for everyone involved and the canopy looks great. Hats off to StructuresUnlimited & Kistler for providing such an outstanding product. Looking forward to working with you again.” – Kurt Backhus