Flexible Metal Mesh Panels Offer Ultimate Sunshading Benefits To Building In The World’s Sunniest Region

March 22, 2016

Project Name: South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL)

Location:  Johannesburg, South Africa 

Architects: Activate Architecture

GKD Metal Fabrics:  Omega with diverse density

The head office of South African National Roads Agency Limited, also known as SANRAL, was completed back in 2011 as a prime example of sustainable architecture. Providing the metallic mesh that offers both aesthetic and functional properties, GKD Metal Fabrics played a pivotal role in the success of this project. The office building is located in Pretoria, capital city of the Republic of South Africa. With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, this is one of the sunniest regions in the world.

SANRAL’s task as an organization is to ensure that the country’s main traffic routes remain in perfect condition without harming the environment. Energy efficiency was therefore the guiding theme of the striking two-story office building erected in the Val de Graz area of Pretoria. Designed by South African firm Activate Architects, the building shell, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and shading of individual building sections holistically pay homage to this theme.

Depending on the intensity of sunlight each side receives, single- or double-glazing was used for the facade. In addition, GKD developed a sunshading system made of Omega stainless steel mesh specifically for this building. In this custom design, metal fabric woven with varying densities and attached at alternating angles, encases the facade of the building. In total, 161 individual panels were fixed to the top and bottom frame of the metallic mesh with flat profiles and tensile construction. Holder profiles were used to attach them to the facade. To guarantee optimum sun protection while ensuring the greatest possible degree of transparency of the metal fabric, some of the sun protection elements were fitted to the facade in an axially twisted position depending on the angle of sunlight. Together with the overhanging concrete roof, which provides additional sunshading, this unconventional solution gives the 91,500-square-foot building its unmistakable character.

The building’s green initiatives paid off, as the project became the first parastatal building in South Africa to achieve a Green Star rating. With a 4-Star rating, the head office was defined as “Best Practice” in the rating systems and was seen as a stepping stone towards the country’s green initiative goals of reducing their carbon emissions by 34% by 2020, according to the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

“Green building offers one of the simplest, most immediate and cost effective ways to reduce human generated carbon emissions – it is essentially the ’low hanging fruit’ – and it is through the efforts made with buildings such as the SANRAL Corporate Head Office that South Africa will begin to move towards our commitment of reduced carbon emissions,” explains Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the GBCSA.

information courtesy of GBCSA