One of Zahner’s classic facade manufacturing techniques has now become streamlined thanks to its automated method for creating perforated louvered screen wall facade systems. Now it is easy to create picotage effects for architectural metal that allow airflow without harsh sunlight.Fabrik Shildan for Flexbrick
Fabrik is very much like a textile for exterior architecture. It consists of a steel framework into which materials are woven (including terra-cotta, glass, wood, etc.) to create endless patterns in a flexible architectural mesh. In addition to facades, Fabrik can be used for pavement, roofing, shade screens, and more.Hudson Cambridge Architectural
Designed for parkade facades, Hudson is a new stainless-steel mesh pattern and exterior cladding system with an open area of 82 percent. It provides a high level of ventilation, while still being capable of screening indirect sunlight and exterior views from the street.Simple Modern Pure + Freeform
Inspired by the designer and creative director’s travels throughout Europe, the finishes are meant to evoke tradition and craft. The Blue Rust finish was taken from the Beverly Pepper sculpture installation outside of the Ara Pacis in Rome. All nine finishes can be used for both interior and exterior spaces.Prodex Prodema
Available in an astonishing ten colors, ProdEx is a construction kit for the cladding of ventilated facades made from natural wood panels consisting of a high density bakelite core, clad in a veneer of natural wood with a surface treated with synthetic resin and an exterior PVDF film, which protects it from solar radiation, dirt, and graffiti.Pura NFC Trespa Pura NFC (natural fiber core) is a sustainable exterior cladding made from up to 70 percent natural fibers infused with thermosetting resins. Pura resembles real wood, is easy to clean, and comes in six natural wood tones. It is also certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.
A total of 149 custom panels cover nearly 11,000 sq. ft. of the facade, providing a passive approach to daylighting, glare reduction, shading, and solar heat gain reduction.The Georgia BioScience Training Center is a signature building with a dual purpose: a high-tech facility supporting research critical to bio-manufacturing that brings identity to Georgia’s growing biosciences industry. The 40,305 sq. ft. building is sited approximately 45 miles due east of Atlanta in Social Circle, "Georgia's Greatest Little Town,” and houses laboratories, classrooms, meeting rooms, and large gathering spaces. The building is organized around a large elliptical courtyard lined with glass walls. “Building planning centered on the idea of a “10 minute marketing tour” as the state will tour thousands of future 'prospect' companies through the facility,” says Nathan Williamson, Associate Principal at Cooper Carry. Williamson says the exterior courtyard doubly serves as a breakout space for large meetings and events, while drawing daylight into the training spaces. “By centralizing this natural amenity and event space, all spaces are energized by daylight while vistas create an open, highly-collaborative environment. The result is a high performance design that evokes the sophistication of 21st century bio-manufacturing.” The most striking feature of the building envelope is a large angular metal mesh veil, suspended off the building by a steel frame. Williamson notes the versatility of the aesthetic properties of the material combined with the performance of the veil as a passive solar shading device brought a significant value to the project: "We infused stainless steel into the exterior design to capture the performance benefits of shading while expressing the connections of the system which enhance the client’s brand of a decidedly hi-tech facility. The mesh is expressed independently from the orthogonal main façade with facets and plane changes to provide a dynamic, crystalline aesthetic with ever changing shadows and reflections that suggest a sense of movement." The BioScience Center’s high precision metal facade assembly is a familiar aesthetic for the high-tech students and visitors of the facility. The metal mesh product, named “Lanier” after nearby Lake Lanier, was developed by Cambridge Architectural as a custom solution specific to this project which has become a showcase for the architectural metal company. "We always like to be involved early in the process of any project and work with the architect once the initial design has been established,” says Matt O’Connell, Director of Operations at Cambridge Architectural. “After initial review and discussions with Cooper Carry about their vision, we conducted 3-D modeling. But the computer only goes so far, so we went through multiple specifications and mock up processes, both small and full size, to provide the right mesh fabric for the job.” The rigid panels are fabricated as trapezoidal shapes to account for the faceted panels. When folded into place, the panels assume an orthogonal ribbon-like patterning. Cambridge developed the rigid mesh to allow for a one-directional bend. The product is suspended in tension off a rigid steel frame that allows the dimensions of the panel to be maximized with fewer intermediate supports. The result is a lightweight (1.28psf) panel with a maximum width of 10 feet, and a maximum length of 100 feet. A unique feature of Lanier is the ability to expand and contract the open area of the mesh, by removing fill wires as the pattern repeats. What results is a quality of lightness in the material - the ability to block direct sunlight while maintaining views from within the building. “We know that architects are seeking flexibility and looking for mesh choices that create a more stimulating visual appearance while providing options for varying degrees of light passage,” said Cambridge National Sales Manager David Zeitlin. “In the case of Lanier, they can even choose to expand the openness of the pattern for a single panel. We call this option Transition.” The material has been used for exterior facades, solar shading, parking garages, and interior screen walls.
High performance and cultural relevance meet in concrete, metal, and steel mesh envelope.For the stakeholders involved in building the new Rev. Avery C. Alexander Academic Research Hospital (also known as University Medical Center, or UMC) in downtown New Orleans, the project was about much more than replacing facilities damaged during Hurricane Katrina. "The grander story is the effort to rebuild New Orleans," recalled NBBJ principal Jose Sama. "There was a lot of emotional attachment to the original hospital, Charity Hospital, and also—rightly so—the pride the community has for the character of the city. Everyone wanted to make sure the project was going to be something that was of New Orleans." In a joint venture with Blitch Knevel Architects, NBBJ rose to the challenge with a design that subtly reflects the city's cultural heritage. The building envelope, a combination of precast concrete, metal panels, high performance glazing, and stainless steel mesh, contributed significantly to both the project's aesthetic aspirations and its performance goals. The overarching concept for UMC, explained Sama, was to "create a performance in place." For the architects, "performance" holds a double meaning. "Performance is embedded in [New Orleans] culture, but this is a more high-level sense of performance," said Sama. "Place," in turn, draws on the city's climate and character. "We looked at various clues in the urban environment and how those could affect the design," said Sama, recalling visits to the hospital's Canal Street neighborhood and the French Quarter. Then, of course, there are the environmental threats made all too clear by the Katrina experience. "We completed [the design] with the understanding that we had to create an envelope that could withstand hurricane-force winds and missile impact," said Sama. "That was an important piece of selecting the glass and the curtain wall system." In fact, most of the damage sustained by Charity Hospital was the result of flooding rather than high winds. As a result, the architects faced a mandate to elevate all critical hospital functions above 22 feet. "We envisioned this as a floating hospital," said Sama. "The notion was that the more public zones, the softer spaces like dining, registration, and the lobbies, would occur at the ground level. Then you move up to an elevated plane of critical services. That way they could function regardless of flooding." The building envelope reflects this programmatic move: The first floor of the central campus structure—the diagnostic and treatment center—is wrapped in a transparent curtain wall with a strong emphasis on the horizontal while the upper, critical floors feature a precast concrete facade. The two other project components, the medical office building and the inpatient towers, offer variations on the theme. The former is clad in an insulated metal panel system, the latter in precast concrete, glass, and stainless steel mesh. A number of subtle gestures connect the hospital exterior to New Orleans' history and culture. One thing Sama noticed on his site visits was that "the notion of the garden is important, and the notion of getting outdoors." With that in mind, the architects created a central entry pavilion "designed such that you have a very pronounced sense of entry created by a porch, or a projecting eave—it almost has the effect of a trellis," said Sama. They also created informal gardens wherever possible. The signature garden, nestled between the towers and the diagnostic center, is water-based, and imagines the seating areas as lily pads floating on a pond. "The idea that here in the middle of New Orleans you find a water-intensive garden was really critical," said Sama. The patient towers, too, embody a strong connection to the outdoors via balconies for patients and staff. Metal scrims in Cambridge Architectural's Mid-Balance architectural mesh simultaneously provide aesthetic interest and fall protection. "We studied what we could do with the scrim," said Sama. "We think we picked just the right scale. It's appropriate for someone sitting on the balcony, but also for someone walking by." The mesh panels produce a "soft veil effect," he observed. "In the morning light, it glistens. The intent was to create a memory of Mardi Gras beads, in terms of color and glistening. People will pick up on that different times of day." Cambridge Architectural contributed to several other elements of the project. Mesh fins in the Scale pattern are attached with a custom cable tensioning system to the upper levels of the patient towers, to provide solar shading. On the parking garage portion, designed by Blitz Knevel Architects, 86 panels of Scale mesh again add both visual impact and fall protection without compromising ventilation. On the south elevation of the garage leading to the UMC helipad, a custom-built shade mesh fin system cuts solar gain and glare. Many of the references embedded in the new UMC hospital—the way in which the towers' orientations recall traditional New Orleans shotgun houses, or the connection between the stainless steel mesh and Mardi Gras beads—are so understated as to operate on almost a subliminal level. But like the city itself, the building comes alive at night, finally, and literally, revealing its true colors. "The building from the outside is very neutral," explained Sama. But thanks to accent colors on the inpatient tower stairs, revealed through translucent glass, plus accent lighting on the bulkheads above, after dark the towers shine, he explained. "The whole point was that at night they would glow with color from within."
Metal mesh bridges old and new in Davis Brody Bond renovation.For their renovation and expansion of the South African Embassy in Washington, DC, Davis Brody Bond faced an unusual aesthetic challenge. Besides updating the two historic buildings housing the embassy's offices and residence, they were tasked with building a new atrium for public welcoming, public events, and conference rooms—right in between the two older buildings. The architects turned to Cambridge Architectural, a Maryland manufacturer of wire mesh architectural systems. "Davis Brody Bond wanted to have this new building as a very contemporary element between the two limestone buildings," said Cambridge Architectural's Ann Smith. A wire mesh facade seemed a perfect solution to the problem of combining old and new, seamlessly bridging the two masonry structures, and providing crucial sun shading for the glass atrium. The designers selected Cambridge Architectural's Shade mesh, a stainless steel weave of triangular elements with an open area of 54 percent. "Shade was chosen specifically to reduce the sun coming in, and the glare, because there are conference rooms in that front area," explained Smith. "But they still wanted to maintain the views." Shade is also a flexible, almost fabric-like mesh. "The architects really wanted to see it as one continuous piece," said Smith. "Our flexible materials lend well to that. We're able to tension them without tying back to the structure as often." The mesh facade turns three times as it wraps around the top and front of the atrium, twice around the parapet, and once again above the recessed entry. To modulate the tension on the screen, Cambridge Architectural developed a custom attachment system based on their Cambridge Scroll attachment series. "We changed the original concept a number of times," said engineering manager Jim Mitchell. "One of the challenges was that when you first walk in, the mesh runs overhead. We had to put more supports in there, more of our tension brackets to keep it looking horizontal, and to keep the tension as it turned." In this case, that meant locating additional attachment areas on the building and adding steel mounts for the Cambridge Scroll hardware. Cambridge Architectural also worked with Davis Brody Bond on a custom window-washing apparatus. The mesh team mounted the screen further off the glass than was standard, to allow room for a hook-and-pulley system designed by the architects. Davis Brody Bond also modified the window design to make for easier cleaning. Inside the entry, Cambridge Architectural installed frames of rigid mesh to echo the exterior facade while allowing access to HVAC equipment. By partnering with Cambridge Architectural on the South African Embassy project, Davis Brody Bond solved two problems at once. They marked their expansion as clearly contemporary without upstaging either the older buildings or the iconic Nelson Mandela statue out front, and they also made building a south-facing glass atrium possible. "It was a perfect combination of a transparent material that could also shade, and a stainless steel material that was very modern," said brand manager Gary Compton. "When you're inside that space, it makes for a nice welcoming, open area."
Strength and softness meet in a metal mesh room divider.Interior dividers can be functional to a fault. If a partition is all you need, then even drywall would do the trick. A custom-built metal curtain in the University of Baltimore’s new law building, however, brings an architectural sensibility to the problem of dividing one space into two. The curtain bisects the lobby with stainless steel, woven into mesh for a unique and uncharacteristically soft texture. Maryland-based Cambridge Architectural engineered and installed the custom mesh curtain for the John and Frances Angelos Law Center at the University of Baltimore. The building, designed by Behnisch Architekten and Ayers Saint Gross, won best facade in AN's first annual Best of Design Awards. The divider is a continuous 33-foot curtain of architectural stainless steel in the building’s seventh-floor lobby. (A second divider, also designed by Cambridge Architectural, is located near the snack bar on the ground floor.) Made of small triangular volumes between a mesh weave, the curtain’s opacity varies based on the angle of the viewer. The Angelos Law Center curtain is longer than previous applications of similar systems, said Cambridge Architectural’s engineering manager Jim Mitchell. Many dividers the company has installed are less than 20 feet long, and are often split in the middle. The tabs and aluminum tracks that hold the 500-pound curtain in place are marine-grade—that is, they are fit for sailing rigs. The metal curtain can be pulled open and closed like a security gate, but it retains the smooth movement and look of a curtain. “It gives it the appearance more of a tapestry than a panel, which typically is tensioned and rigid,” said Mitchell. The fabric-like texture is made possible by the closely woven pattern. “The larger ones look more industrial, and they’re a little bulky when they fold up. But the smaller spirals tend to fold and roll together.” To make the tightly knit weave, Cambridge Architectural flipped the typical orientation of mesh curtains, running metal crimp rods vertically across the mesh instead of horizontally. The crimp rods, welded once they are woven through, join the triangular volumes of the curtain. The designers modeled the curtain components in SolidWorks before sending the data to production. In the Angelos Law Center, the orientation of the weave was especially important because of the lobby's tall ceilings. Whether it is locked closed as a true divider, or left partially open like a less substantial curtain, the stainless steel weave is durable and elegant. “The architects didn’t want the standard security grate that you see at the shopping mall,” said Mitchell. “They wanted something with that architectural look to it. Our mesh kind of fits that bill. It’s durable and it’s metal so it’s going to last forever, but yet it still has that look. So it doesn’t look like you’re pulling down a screen in front of RadioShack.”