CASE STUDY: Solar Control Meets Campus Pride

June 3, 2020


The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) is located roughly 10 miles from Boise, ID and inhabits a new 94,000-square-foot campus. As one of only 35 osteopathic medical schools in the country, ICOM is affiliated with Idaho State University and expects to graduate 97 Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) from 29 states by 2022.

Prior to welcoming the inaugural class in 2018, architects Dekker/Perich/Sabatini (D/P/S) were adding the final touches to the facility. During this process, the team was considering solar solutions for the sun-soaked west side of campus.

D/P/S identified stainless steel metal fabric as a design solution for solar control and soon discovered GKD Metal Fabrics’ robust façade portfolio. In an application specifically to combat solar heat gain, metal fabric facades offer numerous technical properties and striking aesthetic appeal.


The GKD architectural consultation team worked closely with D/P/S to identify Omega 1510 as the appropriate metal fabric for the project. As one of the top sun shading fabrics in GKD’s metal mesh portfolio, Omega 1510 effectively filters light yet affords a necessary degree of transparency.

“We provided D/P/S with solar control test data,” said Shawn Crismond, GKD Regional Sales Manager. “From there, we determined that Omega 1510 would offer optimal solar control without disrupting views of the campus from the inside.”

Compliance with local building codes was also a key consideration. “We derived wind loads, snow loads, live loads and engineered those requirements into the attachments at the tension of the mesh panel,” said Noel Justice, CAD Designer, GKD.

GKD’s custom capability also provided an opportunity to underscore the ICOM brand identity. GKD’s proprietary etching process creates visual imagery that is durable, weather- and fade-resistant.

Using flat-surfaced stainless-steel Omega and Lago metal fabrics, GKD can create highly contrasted images. Graphics applied through etching won’t chip, peel or fade over time as they might with a paint or coating solution.

Omega 1510 happens to be one of our best media to accept the etching process,” said Crismond. “Once the desire for branding entered the discussion, the project quickly became a multifunctional façade that would serve the campus in both energy efficiency and brand identity.”


GKD installed 20 panels of etched Omega 1510 metal fabric that span a length of the ICOM campus – approximately 2,340 square feet. The multifunctional fabric provides the campus with increased energy savings through solar control while adding to the comfort level of the building occupants. Additionally, the campus is enhanced by the prominent etched graphics that serve to instill a sense of school pride as one of the few osteopathic medical schools in the country.