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07. March 2016

Solar protection system from GKD: Woven sustainability

Shimmering metal fabric covers the façade of the Chambre de métiers et de l’artisanat de la Moselle, the Chamber of Crafts in Metz, France. With this textile skin, KL Architects have chosen an ingenious solar protection system made of Lago stainless steel mesh from GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG. Besides reliable regulation of solar energy input, its purist look was another factor in favor of the mesh.

In addition to the reception, the ground floor of the two-story building houses a lavishly furnished conference hall for 400 people as well as rooms for simultaneous interpreters if needed. The administration and classrooms of the various professions are distributed across the two upper floors. KL Architects always prioritize environmental sustainability considerations over their design aspirations. Hence there are, for example, 280 square meters of solar cells on the roof of the building, which helped it obtain recognition as a low-energy building according to the specifications for a Bâtiment Basse Consommation (BBC). The solar protection system from GKD also ensures sustainable energy efficiency. Integrated into the metal fabric veil are two horizontally hinged solar protection panels, made from the same fabric, fitted in two strips along the longitudinal side of the building. When they are closed they are barely visible. The shutters can be opened as and when required by remote control on the first and second story, revealing two rows of windows along the façade. Each of the movable solar protection panels was designed so that its lower half folds up under its top half and is held in place by lateral supports. This banded covering, effective both in terms of energy and ventilation, is framed by vertically tensioned fabric panels, reinforcing the geometrically austere façade structure. Hence when closed, this woven metal skin comprising fixed and movable panels provides efficient solar protection. Nevertheless, it allows unobstructed views of the outside. The reduced solar energy input lowers the need for artificial lighting and air conditioning in the rooms. Yet, with 44 percent light transmission, the textile structure creates pleasant indoor conditions for employees and visitors. Through this combination of reduced operating costs and higher comfort, the facade contributes to meeting the requirements of the sustainability certificate. Thanks to the multi-faceted reflection of the sunlight, the fabric allows the massive building to blend harmoniously into its surroundings.

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