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15. September 2020

Metal mesh: In harmony with nature

When building the new Minerva High School in Umeå, Sweden, the design by Sweco Architects focused on the connection between education, nature, and community. That's why the planners selected a combination of wood and stainless steel mesh of the type Omega 1520 from GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG for the façade of the school building.

The new Minerva High School building was constructed close to the campus of Umeå University in 2015/16. It was needed to provide enough space for the 800 pupils. The sustainable design concept by the architects enables the school to be run in interaction with nature. Generously proportioned glass panes afford a view of the park-like campus. The cool stainless steel mesh stands in contrast with the wood cladding of the upper floors. At the same time, the gray of the wood and the silvery metal convey harmony. On the first floor, metal mesh panels prevent people from looking in while the transparency of the material provides an unimpeded view of the outdoors. In conjunction with the adjacent glass surfaces, the semitransparent shell lends the school building a light and inspiring effect that promotes life and learning. Altogether, around 1,000 square meters of the GKD metal mesh Omega 1520 clad the base of the building and the bicycle parking garage. The different materials of the façade cladding – wood, glass, and metal – interact in their own way with the daylight and surrounding nature. In the evening, the GKD fabric takes on a new life thanks to targeted lighting. To highlight the school’s identity, GKD printed one fabric panel with the Greek goddess Minerva, the school’s namesake. The fabric panels were fastened using the proven Fusiomesh NG system. With this system, the fabric is glued at the top and bottom between two stainless steel flats, mechanically secured, and mounted taut to a substructure on the building using clevises. The recyclable nature of the metal skin underscores the sustainable design concept by the architects. The stainless steel mesh – coupled with its ergonomic and ecological benefits – makes a significant contribution to the building’s silver environmental certification.

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