From folding façades to colorful LED displays, these fantastical projects show off the architectural possibilities of wire mesh and perforated metal panel technology.
3. Operable metal skin creates ever-changing façade in West Hollywood
Homeowners in this 12-unit, LEED Platinum condo development in West Hollywood get the ultimate in privacy, security, and daylight control thanks to an unusual double-wall façade scheme. The outer skin, which wraps three of the four floors, is made of 1/8-inch-thick perforated aluminum panels fastened to an aluminum frame. The frame incorporates bifold doors at each balcony, which allow the residents to open and close the metal screen as they please. The building’s operable aluminum skin also reduces ambient noise in the urban setting and encourages occupants to utilize natural ventilation in lieu of the mechanical systems.
The architect’s design intent was to create a façade in a constant state of change, much like that of the inhabitants of the building. The result is a structure that, while modern in appearance, has organic qualities. The architect describes it as “a live canvas to be painted upon daily or more often.”
The aluminum substructure was fabricated in a factory and prepared for ease of installation without the need for field fabrication. The anchoring brackets were engineered to allow for expansion and seismic movement, meeting seismic code requirements for the region.
The Lofts at Cherokee Studios
West Hollywood, Calif.
Client: REthink Development
Architect: Brooks + Scarpa Architects
Contractor: JT Builders
Metal panel system manufacturer: C.R. Laurence
4. Bowling Green turns drab chiller plant into stainless steel showpiece
When officials at Bowling Green State University learned that a chiller plant expansion was necessary to meet the cooling loads for campus buildings, they could have easily built a drab, utilitarian building like the thousands of power facilities that dot college and university campuses across the country. Instead, the university’s Office of Design and Construction worked with design architect Bostwick Design Partnership, Cleveland, to develop a scheme that not only met the engineering requirements but further created a showpiece for the campus.
Tucked between the School of Art and Conklin Hall, the plant takes the shape of a massive fin or wedge, wrapped in a shimmering veil of stainless steel. More than 10,000 sf of ¾-inch-thick perforated screen panels were used to clad the structure, which features a corbelled brick base to conceal the bulk of the chiller plant systems.
The metal panels are situated vertically, creating almost a drape effect, and have a staggered perforation pattern and ribbed styling for minimal transparency. The screens provide about 30% open space, which affords views of the equipment from certain vantage points.
The design team paid close attention to the orientation and placement of the structure to work within the campus’s master plan and enhance its dual role as chiller plant and art piece.
Bowling Green State University Chiller Plant
Bowling Green, Ohio
Client: Bowling Green State University
Architect: Bostwick Design Partnership
Contractor: Industrial Power Systems
Metal panel system manufacturer: Centria