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Ohlone College Stair Tower

Cambridge Architectural Etched Fabric Turns Stair Tower Into Visual Landmark

Cambridge Architectural continues to expand its portfolio of projects incorporating etched metal mesh with the addition of a five-story stair tower façade at Ohlone College in Freemont, California.

The college name and a decorative tree design were etched into 1,451 square feet of Cambridge’s Mid-Shade mesh by sandblasting the surrounding raw stainless to create a dull matte finish.

At 42 percent open area, the mesh weave provides shading to the southern exposure but preserves daytime views of San Francisco Bay and the surrounding area for stair users. At night, a lit burnt orange wall creates a 3-D like effect to illuminate the metal artwork.

Mesh fabric on the stair tower complements the steel frame and metal panels used on the attached structure, one of three academic core buildings added to the terraced hillside grounds. The transformative project, opened in early 2020, was designed to modernize and unify the campus.

“The stainless steel fabric and graphic created a visual landmark to aid in campus way-finding,” said Cannon Design Architect John Son, “and adds an aesthetically interesting space to promote campus identity and stair usage to navigate building levels.”

The use of stainless steel mesh as a building material reinforces the college’s desire to create a green building that incorporates materials that were recycled or salvaged from other projects.

Approximately 1,450 sq. ft. of the Cambridge Mid-Shade Mesh was used on the project, with Viking Steel of Sacramento, CA, handling the installation. The etching was provided by Metal-Arch of Cambridge, MD.

The project’s architect was ABA of San Jose, CA. The design firm was Cannon Design of Los Angeles. The tower façade addition was completed in 2020.

About Cambridge Architectural

Cambridge Architectural is a full-service provider of architectural metal mesh systems for both interior and exterior building applications. For more information, visit CambridgeArchitectural.com.

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