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Mesh panels move on technical school

Photo: GKD-USA Inc.

Photo: GKD-USA Inc.

Dominique Perrault Architecture specified GKD-USA Inc.'s Escale 7 x 1 anodized aluminum mesh with a natural finish to create a 3-D zigzag façade on Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland. The top three stories on the four-story façade, which spans the entire building, were clad with 630 horizontally sliding mesh panels, similar to awnings. The center entrance was designed to create a visual break from the elongated structure with three rows of extended, angled panels.

The mesh panels are arranged in groups of three. Two in each group of three panels are motorized and move on rails behind the fixed component in a telescopic manner. The mesh panels can be adjusted by room, according to use and climate. When closed, the mesh panels provide solar protection, ventilation and provide outside views. Perrault designed the facade's frame structure to carry the entire load of the frame and mesh panels, which were rear-anchored. The mesh panels were affixed alternately at the top and bottom.

Perrault specified GDK-USA's Escale 7 x 2 stainless steel mesh with 2-mm-thick flat wire at the ground floor, where the Pôle de bio-ingénierie is located. Additionally, GDK-USA's stainless steel Escale fabric was installed at the entrance area. Additional central fastening fixtures were installed to the panels at the overhang and fixed to the mesh with brackets to accommodate snow loads typical in the region.

The 32,000-square-foot Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne houses interdisciplinary research space and features offices, seminar rooms and laboratories. It was completed in 2015.

Architect: Dominique Perrault Architecture, Paris
Metal mesh: GKD-USA Inc., Cambridge, Md.,