Posts tagged with "Cambridge Architectural":

Product>First Impressions

Achieve a classic look with natural wood paneling, or an ultramodern, futuristic style with innovative metal cladding. 3D Perforated Metal Zahner

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.

Product> Off The Wall: Sophisticated Wall Coverings

From recycled acoustic installations to intricate tile mosaics, the latest wall coverings are innovative, functional, and downright stylish. Xorel Artform Carnegie This high-performance wall paneling is available in over 200 colors and textures, with four different panel shapes that are each available in three sizes. Each panel is individually upholstered by hand using sustainable materials. The amount of highly personalized combinations allows for a range of uses in both residential and commercial spaces. Origami Akdo Akdo’s expertly cut marble tiles allow the veining on each piece to perfectly align with each other to create the illusion of a seamless line that looks folded like traditional Japanese origami. The patterns are offered in a choice of four warm taupe or cool gray colorways. Sakura Collection Fireclay Tile Hand painted on 70-percent recycled clay tiles, the Sakura Collection displays subtle earth toned hues that are derived from traditional Japanese landscapes, including patterns that resemble mountains, tortoise shells, and river rocks. They are available in eight-by-eight and six-by-twelve sizes. Dimensioni Collection New Ravenna Inspired by the Byzantine technique of placing gold pieces at certain angles to reflect light, the New Leaf tile mosaic is available in four color ways of metallic glass: platinum, rose gold, champagne gold, and gunmetal. In addition, the collection has two other modern mosaic designs inspired by the landscapes of Italy crafted in Italian marble. Tweed Mesh Cambridge Architectural Cambridge is known for its architectural mesh; it has recently released two new patterns, including a “tweed” mesh made with stainless steel and brass that resembles the weave of a classic wool overcoat—so much so that it has been used in several lounges for British Airways. Geo Wallpaper Direct Part of a larger collection of hyper-realistic photo paper by Ella Doran, this print is intended to capture texture and sunlight on solid architectural surfaces and adds a touch of glamour to smaller spaces without the bulk of using actual stone.

Small town receives new high-tech science facility dressed in a dynamic crystalline metal mesh veil

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.
  • Facade Manufacturer Cambridge Architectural
  • Architects Cooper Carry - Atlanta
  • Facade Installer L&S Erectors, Inc. - Litchfield, Ohio
  • Facade Consultants Whiting-Turner – Atlanta (Construction Manager)
  • Location Social Circle, Georgia
  • Date of Completion September, 2015
  • System Rigid metal mesh panels attached to a steel frame with Clevis in tension system
  • Products “Lanier” Metal Mesh pattern, by Cambridge Architectural
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.

Product> Special Effects: Exterior Metals

Perforated, solid sheet, formed, mesh: The versatility of metal as a sculptural facade material is unequalled. A wide range of finish options—polished, matte, or textured; color-coated, natural, or even gilded—enhances the aesthetic possibilities. Gradients Collection Moz Designs The Gradients Collection includes nine ombré color spectrums and a choice of nine textured finishes that add visual interest and dimension to the iridescent surfaces. Suitable for both interior and exterior applications, the collection is available in four-foot by eight-foot or four-foot by ten-foot aluminum or corrugated aluminum panels with thicknesses ranging from .040 to .125 inches. Fabricated from recycled metal, the product is LEED eligible. Designwall Series Benchmark by Kingspan The Designwall line of insulated metal panels now features a high performance joint that enhances R-values and affords superior resistance to air and water penetration, owing to a double-sealed joint in the face/liner, a double-sloped drainage shelf, and a double pressure equalization chamber. UNA-CLAD Delta Concealed Fastener Panels Firestone Building Products The Delta Series is a high-performance cladding system, available in a range of materials and eleven profiles. The design of the panels allows for rapid installation and features a unique visual safeguard to ensure panels are correctly interconnected. There are 31 standard colors offered; custom colors are optional. Cubist Mesh Cambridge Architectural Modifying the width and pitch of the individual spirals of this metal mesh provides flexibility in design and allows architects to create decorative and solar-shading patterns within the pattern. The spirals can be adapted to range from 3/8 inches to 3 inches in width and 1/2 inch to 1-inch in pitch. Envelope 2000 Citadel Architectural Products Envelope 2000 is a composite panel consisting of two aluminum skins bonded to a thermoset phenolic resin core. Standard sizes available include eight-, ten- and 12-foot lengths, in widths measuring four or five feet. LEED eligible, it can be used as exterior cladding on walls, canopies, fascia, and accent bands. Snap-Clad Panel Pac-Clad Petersen Aluminum These architectural/structural roofing panels are corrective leveled to provide superior flatness. A concealed fastener clip system allows for thermal expansion and contraction while providing ample hold-down strength. A factory-applied sealing bead is optional for the aluminum panels.

NBBJ’s New Orleans hospital embodies resilience

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.
  • Facade Manufacturer Harmon (window walls), Centria (metal panels), Cambridge Architectural (metal mesh)
  • Architects NBBJ, Blitch Knevel Architects
  • Facade Installer F.L. Crane & Sons (metal panels, diagnostic building), Crown Corr (metal panels, clinic), Harmon (glazing), River City Erectors (metal mesh)
  • Facade Consultants IBA Consultants
  • Location New Orleans, LA
  • Date of Completion August 2015
  • System precast concrete and metal panels with high performance curtain walls and stainless steel mesh accents
  • Products Harmon window wall systems, Centria insulated metal panels, Cambridge Architectural mesh in Mid-Balance, Scale, and Shade
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."

Products> Hot Products for Hot Summer Days

Landscape lighting, kitchen systems, pavers, and wire mesh: readers of SpecSheet certainly have wide-ranging interests. Here are some of the most popular products of the year thus far, as measured by the volume of online traffic. Bollard 7786LED Bega These robust bollards provide glare-free widespread symmetrical illumination while acting as a piece of urban furniture. The construction is robust enough for people to sit or stand on. These luminaires are ideal for schools, parks and other public areas. With two-piece die-cast aluminum construction, consisting of a lower post and a top casting and a spun aluminum lamp housing, with hand-blown fresnel crystal glass screw-neck diffuser located inside the lower post. U.L. listed, suitable for wet locations. With LED lamping, it is available in 3000K and 4000K. Urban Kitchen SieMatic With its mix of stylistic elements, the Urban design theme reflects the contrasts and vitality of city living. Central to the program is the SieMatic 29 sideboard; its mitered and rounded side panels and gently curved pedestal are a contemporary update of the traditional piece of furniture. It is complemented by a variety of freestanding cabinet units, featuring open shelving, cupboards, and drawers. Build-A-Pattern Cambridge Architectural To enhance solar shading and facade appearance, this new design program allows architects to combine multiple patterns of varying densities within a single panel of metal mesh. Invisible Wall System Vitrocsa With only 3/4″ vertical sightlines for dual-glazed sliding doors, the Vitrocsa system creates an almost invisible wall that can be opened and closed. Available as sliding windows and doors, fixed windows, vertically sliding “guillotine” windows, and pivoting doors. Compliant with Dade County hurricane impact standards. lineaCube Maars Living Walls Occupants of open-plan offices not infrequently yearn for the visual and acoustic shielding afforded by conventional, closed-office systems. The lineaCube offers acoustic privacy as well as a fully responsive working climate. In addition to completely transparent walls, combinations with blinds, privacy glass, and opaque walls are also possible. The minimalist design of the unit is facilitated by its completely self-supporting structure with recessed ceiling and double glazing. The lineaCube is an independent space with its own ventilation, acoustic insulation and absorption, with power, data, audio, and lighting integrated into the ceiling. Belpasso Paving Stones Unilock From courtyards to car parks, pedestrian streets to city plazas, pavers offer an aesthetic and durable alternative to ordinary asphalt and concrete surfaces. Non-slip and stain-resistant, these contemporary pavers are suitable for high traffic areas when correct sizes and laying patterns are observed. In two colorways.

Product> Six Materials and Systems for Great Facade Design

Whether it's a unitized wall panel to facilitate faster build-speed or a cladding material that promises unlimited creative expression, new products for facades elevate both the art and science of design. Formawall Graphix Series Centria This single component wall system facilitates the design of complex patterns that combine horizontal, vertical, and diagonal reveals within a single panel. The panels have a steel face and liner, along with factory foamed-in-place insulation that fills the voids in the panel joinery and prevents a reduction in thermal values. They also features pressure-equalized horizontal joinery that provides long term protection with minimal maintenance. Linearis Swisspearl For installing with open joints, these rectangular panels are available in four sizes. Rot resistant, incombustible, and low in maintenance, the LEED-eligible planks are offered in more than 50 colors. Build-A-Pattern Cambridge Architectural To enhance solar shading and facade appearance, this new design program allows architects to combine multiple patterns of varying densities within a single panel of metal mesh. StrongFix TheSize Created for architects looking to design sleek, sturdy facades with minimal hassle, StrongFix from TheSize Surfaces is a new all-in-one ventilated façade and installation system featuring slim, large-format Neolith tiles pre-fitted with metal brackets. The first system of its kind, StrongFix is also slated to be ICC certified this summer. Meteon Trespa In a new palette of six grey colors that complement other facade elements like windows and doors, these matte-finish panels have a grained effect that perfectly mimics the source pattern of the wood. Weather- and UV-resistant, the panels have a closed-surface structure, which keeps the product smooth and easy to clean. Column Covers Moz Designs These column covers are fabricated from heavy gauge, solid-core aluminum in round, square, oval, and racetrack configurations. Pre-formed and pre-engineered for easy on-site installation, the covers are available in more than 500 combinations of color, grain, and pattern.

Product> Eight cool solar shading options

Essentially low-tech solutions with high-tech refinements, shades, shelves, and canopies control the sun while adding an architectural element to the design. CRL-U.S. Aluminum Series 3600 Sunshade System C.R. Laurence The screw spline assembly design (above) features a choice of outrigger profiles with a variety of louver and fascia profiles available. FM 41 InSync Solar This automated exterior-mounted roller shading system blocks the sun before it enters a structure, reducing heat and glare more effectively than interior shading technologies. MagnaShade MechoSystems A unique cradle element supports the shade tube without increasing its diameter, allowing the overall size of the interior roller-shade system to remain compact. InLighten Light Shelf Kawneer Featuring an extruded aluminum chassis and a choice of polycarbonate or aluminum-composite panels, this tilting shelf bounces daylight deep into interior spaces. GreenScreen Revive Mermet USA Available in nine colors, these PVC-free polyester solar-control fabrics reduce glare and reflect light. C2C and GreenGuard Gold certified, the collection is available in 1 percent and 5 percent openness. Cubist Cambridge Architectural This flexible stainless steel mesh has an open area of 80 percent. Available in a maximum width of 144 inches, it weighs 1.85 pounds-per-square foot. Koda XT 3form A custom-molded polycarbonate roof houses PV modules that power the bus shelter's lighting and send additional energy back to the community's electrical power grid. Aluminum Sails Levolux Custom fabricated, these single skin, perforated aluminum sheets control light and heat while giving the structure a distinctive appearance.

Cambridge Architectural’s Steel-Wrapped Embassy

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."
  • Facade Manufacturer Cambridge Architectural
  • Architects Davis Brody Bond
  • Facade Installer Cambridge Architectural
  • Location Washington, DC
  • Date of Completion January 2014
  • System flexible stainless steel mesh screen with custom steel attachments
  • Products Cambridge Architectural Shade mesh, customized Cambridge Scroll attachments
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."

Product> Surface Effective: Eight Innovative Cladding Materials & Systems

From enhancing aesthetics with digitally-printed ceramic panels to increasing build-speed via all-in-one insulated metal panel systems, these innovative building products offer specialized facade solutions to architects. ClearShade Insulated Glass Panel Panelite A glazing solution that optimizes both daylight and solar heat control, its honeycomb insert is offered in a range of colors and patterns; customization is available. Dekton Cosentino Available in sheets up to 126 by 56 inches and thicknesses of 8, 12, and 20 millimeters, this ultra-compacted material has a high compressive strength, is non-porous, and UV resistant. In ten colors and textures. Dot-to-Dot Tagina The system is based on three-dimensional ceramic modules that function as pixels when mounted to an exterior facade. Consulting with the manufacturer, designers can create their own limited edition glazed porcelain tiles for ventilated facades or other architectural coverings. Benchmark Kingspan A single package system that combines the energy efficiency of IMPs with a proprietary carrier panel system that accommodates many cladding options, including aluminum composite material, metal composite material, ceramic granite, thin brick, plate, high pressure laminate, and ceramic tile. Renewall Lamboo Laminated bamboo elements are up to 20 percent more stable than hardwoods, while milling, sanding, and finishing using conventional machinery. Its naturally occurring silica content resists insects and fungal agents. LEED eligible. Hashtag Cambridge Architectural In panels up to 96 inches wide, the flattened surface area of this rigid stainless steel mesh boosts reflectivity. Produced from 100 percent recycled materials, it is LEED eligible. Lea Lab Lea Ceramiche Architects can create their own custom cladding imagery on ultra-thin, oversized ceramic panels using the Lea Lab digital printing technology. Upload high-resolution files, specify the panel size, and the manufacturing process is initiated. Baltic GKD Metal Fabrics With a range of visible light transmittance from .28 to .42 and a solar gain coefficient of between .20 and .29, this metal fabric makes an effective sunshade.

Cambridge Architectural Weaves a Flexible Steel Curtain

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.”
  • Fabricator Cambridge Architectural
  • Designers Cambridge Architectural
  • Location Baltimore
  • Date of Completion 2013
  • Material stainless steel, aluminum
  • Process SolidWorks, wire forming, weaving, welding
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.”