From the inside, one might wonder what creates the shadows lightly falling across the floors of the new Blue Cross and Blue Shield Florida Blue Miami Center. The upper windows of the office appear to be translucent, or perhaps to be made of a gradated type of glass, allowing just the right amount of sunlight in as the day progresses. In fact though, Cambridge Architectural’s metal fabric panels sleekly cover the windows outside the facility, adding a dynamic design and facilitating daylighting inside.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Florida Blue Centers are designed to encourage personal interaction between customers and their health care provider. The Centers offer benefits consultations, financial planning assistance, and tools to learn more about individual healthcare options. The Cambridge Architectural mesh systems featured in the facilities serve appropriately as structural shields for protecting the Centers’ functions.
The Miami location is one of five brand new Florida Blue Centers to feature a Cambridge mesh system. From the exterior of the facility, the stainless steel acts as a glistening reflective surface to naturally backlight the building’s marquee signage. The intricate texture of the mesh creates a translucent quality that facilitates depth, while the letters remain readable against it. Inside the building, the system offers a completely different aesthetic, bringing in soft natural light and shadows.
“The dual visual nature of the product makes this application remarkable,” says Mike Moorhouse, Director of Sales for Cambridge Architectural. “Not only does the system offer noteworthy architectural benefits, but this project shows how transformative metal can be for both the interior and exterior of a building.”
In terms of performance, Cambridge mesh serves to shade the facility, increasing comfort for occupants without mitigating their views to the outside. Because the system is made entirely of recyclable stainless steel, it possesses inherent sustainable benefits. Furthermore, its lightweight composition requires minimal structural support, so the system’s installation at the Center was straightforward and seamless.
The Florida Blue Miami Center facade was created with mesh in Cambridge’s Shade metal fabric pattern, which features large-scaled, flexible open weaves that shade and screen structures including facades, parking garages and pavilions. The Shade metal fabric was installed in tension with tall panels that did not require intermediates.
Construction on the Florida Blue Miami Center was completed in November 2009. The project team included architect Felix Pardo & Associates, Inc., Miami, FL, and general contractor Solutions Constructors, LLC, Tampa, FL.
Cambridge is an active member of the USGBC, and helps architects take maximum advantage of LEED credit through the many categories in which architectural mesh systems apply. Most notably, mesh can contribute to as many as four LEED points for optimized energy performance, and can help in acquiring additional points for incorporating recycled content and reducing glare into the regularly occupied areas of a building as a contribution to daylighting and views credits.