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Multifunctional façade with stainless steel mesh: University of Lausanne

EPFL II University of Lausanne

The complex façade cladding impresses through its dynamics, modernity and numerous functions – from solar protection, natural ventilation and energy saving, through creation of a suitable lighting climate inside the building, all the way up to flexible, seasonal adjustment of the mesh panels – all thanks to the Escale stainless steel mesh from GKD.

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Architecture with an international impact

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) is one of the world's best universities to be founded in the last 50 years – with continuously growing space requirements. One objective of the new buildings and reconstruction work was therefore also to send out an architectural signal of the university's status. Architect Dominique Perrault designed a unique, three-dimensional zigzag façade for the current extension of the Pôle de bio-ingénierie from 630 horizontally movable solar protection elements made from GKD metal mesh. Alongside its functionality, the façade cladding acts as a visible sign of the renowned university's flexibility and dynamism.

Façade cladding as an architectural highlight

Architect Dominique Perrault opted for stainless steel mesh (coated black) as an architectural statement back in 2013 – at that time during the remodeling of the central library. This time, he selected the Escale 7 x 1 and Escale 7 x 2 metal fabrics for a host of very good reasons:

Aesthetics: Characterized by a sense of lightness while at the same time offering robustness thanks to the mesh structure and material quality of the façade system.
Statics: Frame construction, for example with additional central attachments and special clamps for building elements that are exposed to particularly high loads. (e.g. wind and snow)

An intelligent, complex façade cladding was created that screams dynamism, not least due to its partial motorization.

Technical and functional highlights of the mesh façade

The entire building, with its four-story façade, was clad using 630 mesh panels. The staggered panels are made from natural-colored anodized Escale aluminum mesh and are attached using a sturdy frame construction with hook bolts.

  • The panels are arranged into groups of three, whereby two of the three panels are motorized and move along rails behind the fixed element in a telescopic manner
  • When closed, the panels guarantee efficient solar protection, non-glare workplaces and unrestricted outward views
  • The open mesh structure not only allows the desired daylight to flood inside the building, but also facilitates natural ventilation
  • The energy requirements for artificial lighting and air conditioning are minimized
  • The mesh façade offers heat protection in summer and allows the use of heat from solar input in winter: important elements of energy-efficient climate management
  • The façade's mesh panels can be matched to the respective requirements on a room-by-room basis
  • Increased protection from vandalism

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