American Airlines Arena Transforms Downtown With GKD Mediamesh

February 23, 2012

Project: American Airlines Arena

Location: Miami, Florida

Architect: A2a Media

Customer: The Miami Heat

Completion Date: 2009

GKD Metal Fabrics Product: Mediamesh®V4xH5.0 & Mediamesh®

When the NBA’s Miami HEAT Group decided to create a marquee on the exterior of its American Airlines Arena, the franchise wanted something that would not only draw attention to the arena itself, but also transform downtown Miami. Made from 3,400 square feet of a high-grade architectural woven stainless steel mesh fabric with interwoven LED profiles, Miami’s Mediamesh screen, patented by GKD, provides visitors to the Arena with unobstructed viewing from the interior and visually engaging digital media content on the exterior.

Situated on Miami’s busy Biscayne Boulevard, overlooking Biscayne Bay, the American Airlines Arena plays host to more than 1.3 million guests per year who visit the arena for concerts, family and sporting events. Committed to providing visitors with a dynamic and exciting entertainment experience, the HEAT Group commissioned a first-of-its-kind large-scale LED mesh media facade to be installed on the arena. Standing three-stories tall (42 feet high by 80 feet wide), Miami’s Mediamesh facade is four times the size of an average billboard.

“Because of the size of the facade and the curvature of the arena, installing the Mediamesh proved to be a challenge,” said Leon Shockley, director of field operations for GKD-USA. “We broke the facade into eight panels and angled each panel within the brackets to smooth the curvature and eliminate the appearance of vertical lines. One benefit of Mediamesh is its translucent appearance, so maintaining that transparency was critical. The result was a clear media output.”

Mediamesh was created in a joint effort by GKD – Gebr. Kufferath AG, a leading provider of woven stainless steel mesh fabric for the industry and architecture, and ag4 media faade GmbH, Cologne, a mediatecture company that provides support for architects in the medialization of large facades by day or night without obstructing the architecture behind it. Mediamesh is made of high-grade architectural woven stainless steel mesh fabric, which is embedded with linear tubes filled with LED nodes that provide pixels for displaying high-resolution digital imagery. The Miami Mediamesh screen, which is three-quarters of an inch thick and 70 percent transparent, blends in with the architecture of the Arena so that it goes virtually unnoticed when it is turned off. However, when it is on, images can be seen in high-pixel resolution. Mediamesh can display any content that can be shown on a computer screen and despite its advanced graphic image resolution, it requires very little maintenance and uses only 1/6 the amount of electricity that conventional LED boards use.

“The flexibility and durability of Mediamesh also intrigued the HEAT Group. Because Mediamesh can be secured onto any shape building, it was ideal for this project,” said Mike Leonard, designer for GKD-USA.

Also ideal for the HEAT Group was Mediamesh’s resistance to weathering and temperature, which helps prolong its life. Because temperatures in Miami can reach up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it was critical that the Mediamesh be able to perform regardless of weather conditions. The Miami Mediamesh can also resist hurricane force winds up to 146 miles per hour.

Miami’s Mediamesh marquee is the largest digital LED media display in the Southeast. The marquee runs from 6:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., showing concert and game footage, advertising messages from sponsors, as well as Twitter and email messages from the public.