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11. December 2017

Solar protection: bronze-colored metal mesh as wall cladding

Spence Hall on the campus of the Union Presbyterian Seminary, a school of theology run by the Protestant church in Richmond, Virginia, was redesigned by Glavé & Holmes Architecture. For this purpose, the architects chose metal mesh from GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG. The Omega 1520 mesh mounted on two facing sides in the entire upper section of the prayer room functions as interior solar protection and decorative wall cladding.

Originally built in 1897, Spence Hall was transformed into a state-of-the-art teaching facility in 2000 that is also used as a chapel. From the outside the building blends in perfectly with its surroundings thanks to the red bricks typical of Richmond, Virginia. The interior of Spence Hall was given a new lease of life by Glavé & Holmes Architecture from Virginia as an open and generously sized prayer room with a gallery for visitors. The real eye-catchers of the modern and unostentatious room are the bronze-colored mesh panels made of Omega 1520 stainless steel mesh from GKD. At the front of the room, ceiling-high rosewood panels frame a discreet cross, thereby forming a second, larger cross. On the two long sides of the room, large, ceiling-height mesh panels from the gallery upward conceal the latticed windows arranged horizontally in rows of three. Their warm bronze color provide a pleasant contrast to the otherwise black and white color scheme. The woven material lends the room a feeling of comfort with its sail-like appearance. Targeted lighting accents cast the mesh in the room interior in the limelight. While the incoming light makes the windows shimmer like gold-embedded jewels during the day, at night the woven panels appear opaque from the inside but transparent from the outside. Alongside their decorative function, the metal mesh from GKD also meets the tough requirements of the architects as efficient solar protection. The open mesh structure filters the sunlight diffusely, reduces the heat input and guarantees effective glare protection for the visitors of the prayer room.

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