Eastern Michigan University has enjoyed continuous growth since its foundation in 1817. It now has 19 faculties and colleges for the humanities and natural sciences and almost 44,000 students were enrolled in 2015. In the form of the Mark Jefferson Science Complex, the Lord Aeck Sargent firm of architects wanted to create a building that has a relaxing effect on users while at the same time minimizing the negative impact of the building work on the environment. This involved the responsible selection of materials under energy-saving aspects. In order to achieve the desired level of comfort for users of the building, the extensively glazed second façade required sophisticated solar management. The architects found the perfect solution for this in GKD’s metal mesh, which offers both effective solar protection and high daylight utilization. A total of 89 Omega 1510 stainless steel mesh panels were used in combination with a matt weft wire. Around 900 square meters of the textile skin protect the building from direct solar irradiation without blocking out daylight. As a result there is no need for air conditioning and artificial lighting. In addition unhindered views to the outside enhances the amenity value. In order to cover the entire height of the newly constructed three-story building, GKD created woven panels up to three meters long. These were mounted using a fixing system developed specially by GKD and Lord Aeck Sargent in which floor and roof arms serve as the primary means of anchoring, while small inserted supports on each floor provide additional stability. The result is a visually seamless solar protection solution, whose extraordinary appearance has become a trademark of the science complex. What’s more, thanks to its unlimited service life, freedom from maintenance, weather resistance and reusability, the textile skin contributes to the sustainable approach of the building, which was designed in accordance with the Green Building guidelines. The LEED Gold certification is an impressive proof of the high sustainability of the building.
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