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13. February 2020

Metal mesh: Façade cladding for university of excellence

The new construction of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry (ACI) at the University of Heidelberg is replacing an existing building that no longer meets the standards required of a modern laboratory building. For the façade cladding, ingenhoven architects selected Omega 1510 stainless steel mesh with white-coated weft wires from GKD – Gebr. Kufferath AG.

Founded in 1386, the University of Heidelberg with its 28,653 students is the oldest university in Germany and has been a university of excellence since 2006. The new construction of the four-story Institute of Inorganic Chemistry (ACI) – also known as building 275 – is predominantly used for laboratories. Unencumbered views of the landscaped grounds through cross-story connecting walkways highlight the focus on user comfort. This is further enhanced by the natural lighting afforded by floor-to-ceiling glazing. As the cladding for the distinctive rectangular building with escape balconies mounted on the front, the architects opted for Omega 1510 stainless steel mesh. The installation was extended beyond the top story and pulled inward by 90° at the top edge of the building so that the mesh accentuates the homogeneous overall impression of the building. A total of 104 panels – up to 18.70 meters long and 5.98 meters wide – act as effective solar protection and prevent the building from heating up. Nevertheless, daylight can still flood into the rooms and the view of the outdoors is not impaired in any way. In addition, the woven skin with a total area of 1,675 square meters serves as functional fall guard protection on the balconies. The weather-resistant mesh made of stainless steel is low-maintenance, helps to save on electricity costs for lighting and air-conditioning, and is even completely recyclable. As such, it makes an important contribution to the Green Building Criteria stipulated by DGNB, which the architects observed throughout planning.

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