Surprisingly Extraordinary Parking Facades Using Metal Fabrics
There is a common misconception that parking design is synonymous with boring design. Yet, with the use of innovative building materials, parking facades can be not only aesthetically pleasing but serve numerous functionalities such as solar management, daylighting, and natural ventilation. These functions allow for energy and cost efficiency, giving all the security of concrete without the burden of mechanical ventilation.
Gehry Partners LLP, a Los Angeles-based architecture firm established by renowned architect Frank Gehry, designed New World Symphony Parking Garage in Miami Beach, Florida. The architects specified a mesh product that was durable, aesthetically compatible with the neighboring symphony building and easily maintained. The exterior Helix 12 GKD metal fabric is lit with LED lights installed at the base of the mesh above the ground floor retail on three sides. The controllable LED lighting is programmed to change colors continuously and can be modified to correspond with holidays or special events at the New World Symphony. In addition to its aesthetic properties, the mesh creates a natural ventilation system, making the use of mechanical ventilation equipment obsolete. The mesh can also withstand hurricane force winds and other intense climactic factors associated with the extreme weather of South Florida.
Cook Children’s Health Care System Parking Garage in Fort Worth, Texas by HKS, Inc. may seem like your average concrete parking structure, but in fact this façade features a unique display showcasing the photo and hand art of the children and supporters of the Cook Children's Health Care System. The display was created using GKD’s stainless steel wire mesh interwoven with LED lights know as Mediamesh®, transforming this seemingly stagnant parking facility into a interactive façade. George Montague, Vice President of Real Estate for Cook Children’s Health Care System, helped to define the criteria to make the otherwise barren wall a must see with an iconic installation. Unlike other interactive facades, this one would be used solely for artistic content. Fort Worth currently prohibits the use of digital signage.
The Van Nuys Flyaway Parking Garage in Los Angeles, California is located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley. The Van Nuys Airport (VNY) ranks as the world's busiest general aviation airport. The FlyAway Bus Terminal provides nonstop bus service between the San Fernando Valley and LAX, and was an important step in helping to alleviate freeway and LAX parking congestion. Designed by architectural firm DMJM, curtain walls at the bus terminal-parking garage utilize GKD’s Lago metal fabric to conceal the inside while allowing pedestrians to engage with their surroundings. Super graphic-sized letterforms are affixed to the woven metal fabric as though they are suspended in flight.
The Parking Garage at Park Square at Doral by Miami-based firm Zyscovich Architects was created using an array of tensioned metal fabric panels custom woven with different degrees of transparency visually enrich the façade of this parking facility. The project overcame several obstacles due to its location. It had to withstand the elements, again with the climatic issues associated with South Florida, while also providing natural ventilation. GKD’s Omega stainless steel fabric can withstand wind speeds of up to 146 mph, making it ideal for hurricane-prone areas. In addition to hurricane force winds, the mesh also has to withstand the intense effects of the sun.
The stainless steel properties of the metal mesh mean that maintenance is almost non-existent and cleaning requires no harsh chemicals, making it an environmentally sound choice. Another consideration was the products ability to provide shade to the building where needed. GKD’s metal mesh provides solar management while at the same time allowing natural airflow through the structure, reducing the building’s energy needs.
It is no longer necessary to choose between the essential functions of a parking facility and attractive design. By utilizing innovative building materials, parking facades can now be beautiful, energy efficient structures.