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Façade made from bronze-colored stainless steel fabric with varying transparency

Kunsthalle Mannheim

The partially varying translucency of the stainless steel fabric with its specially developed mesh design made from stainless steel cables and bronze-coated stainless steel wires and tubes lends the Kunsthalle Mannheim a delicate façade skin with varying transparency that spans over 4,600 m². The Kunsthalle Mannheim, which reopened at the end of 2017, is the largest new museum building in Germany to date.

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The façade cladding made from stainless steel mesh underscores the architectural concept of expansiveness and cosmopolitanism. At the same time, the window-like façade symbolizes a sense of togetherness between the city and the museum. Thanks to its transparent structure, the woven building shell creates a bidirectional connection between the urban environment with its people and the artistic counterpart with its visitors. To realize this, the architects from gmp selected a greater fabric transparency in front of the glazed surfaces of the façade than in front of the fiber cement panels of the building cubes. The differing degrees of transparency mean that the architectural concept is retained even from a distance, as is the textile structure of the stainless steel mesh. To achieve this, GKD developed a special mesh design made from four-wire warp wire groups (untreated stainless steel) with interwoven, color-coated stainless steel wires and tubes of different diameters. The differences in wire thickness – and thus the varying stress ratios in the fabric – were balanced out using weaving techniques in order to meet the static requirements for the façade caused by wind and snow.

In achieving the precisely stipulated color shade, which had to appear homogeneous across the entire surface of the façade cladding despite the various metal mesh components employed, including cables, wires, tubes, and tube side closures, GKD put its wealth of experience in coating technologies and their optical effects to good use. The stainless steel wires were coated in a continuous process while the stainless steel tubes were painted together with the closures in a spraying process. Finally, the coated components were woven with the untreated warp wires.

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