For the new Mark Jefferson Science Complex, Eastern Michigan University and architectural firm Lord Aeck & Sargent found an ideal solar management solution in GKD metal fabrics. Providing an environmentally sustainable solution, GKD collaborated with the design team at Ann Arbor-based architecture firm to develop and engineer a series of sunshades for the faade of the building. This solar management solution shields the building from direct sun while providing enough daylight for students and staff to utilize the building with less energy usage and reduced environmental impact.
Featuring nearly 10,000 square feet of stainless steel metal mesh in 89 panels, the recently completed Science Complex offers a revolutionary faade that is both functional and aesthetically stunning. The sweeping three-tier building exterior incorporates cutting-edge solar-management techniques from ground to roof and offers environmental sustainability, all while holding up to Michigan’s weather extremes including ice, rain, wind and excessive heat and cold.
The new facility did not come without its share of setbacks. Design and production challenges arose, particularly with finding a manufacturer that could weave panels at the lengths needed to span the height of the building. As one of the leading metal fabric manufacturers in the United States, GKD was brought onto the project to specifically tailor the series of sunshades and outriggers. With the length not being an issue, GKD then developed and engineered a custom-designed outrigger attachment system. In this new addition to GKD’s attachment capabilities, top and bottom arms serve as the primary anchor support while smaller intermediate supports stabilize at every floor plate, imparting no vertical support reactions back to the curtain wall mullions. The metal mesh panels in GKD’s Omega 1510 weave, range in size from 11 to 71 feet in length and were custom woven using a matte finish wire to further minimize glare. The result is solar control at every floor level.