Cambridge Architectural, Cambridge, MD, recently employed its unique design-build approach to outfit the exterior of a newly constructed parking garage in glistening woven metal fabric. The structure is at Reservoir Woods, a 120-acre office complex in Waltham, MA.
Cambridge’s design-build method includes comprehensive costs for design, engineering, manufacturing and building, and is structured to include Guaranteed Maximum Pricing (GMP) for any of its seven architectural mesh systems. This approach, when implemented early on in the schematic stages of a project, brings form, function and economy together in one easy step.
“The advantage of our design-build approach is that we are able to qualify the budget for the intended design, coming on board early in the project as part of the design team,” explains Heather Collins, director of marketing for Cambridge Architectural. “This method eliminates the assumptions that would need to be made about our attachment systems and support requirements if we were not part of the team, which helps to reduce risk and manage costs.”
Cloaked in Cambridge’s Facade mesh system, the four-story, 871-space Reservoir Woods parking structure clearly benefited from Cambridge’s design-build approach.
“The design-build method worked remarkably well for the Reservoir Woods project,” says Peter Darby, AIA, of Spagnolo Gisness & Associates. His firm was responsible for the structure’s design and he served as the project manager. “Cambridge’s collaborative efforts with the design and construction management teams played a vital role in the development of a successful strategy for the garage’s screening, additionally providing a cost-effective building solution.”
“The design-build concept is a rising trend in the industry,” says Collins. “Based upon their complexity, certain metal fabric applications are better suited to this type of approach. For example, tensioned mesh panels do not need to be designed in conjunction with embedded structural support to be able to hang the material. Teaming up to establish key mesh functions from the start eliminates over-engineering or the need for additional materials later in the project.”
Exuding a sophisticated image, the Reservoir Woods facility is clad in metal fabric in Cambridge’s Scale and Mid-Balance patterns. The large-scaled, flexible open weaves of the mesh allow for natural day lighting, while concurrently shading and screening the parking structure. The luminous expanses of stainless steel were fastened with Cambridge’s Eclipse tension attachment hardware, which securely holds the seemingly delicate, yet indestructible fabric in tension.
In addition to its intrinsic visual appeal, the metal fabric system is extremely functional. The openness of the metal fabric reduces HVAC requirements, facilitates airflow and ensures visibility throughout the parking structure. Rugged and durable, the material is resistant to scratches, denting and corrosion, and serves as an aesthetically pleasing method of fall protection.
“We’ve received plenty of positive feedback about the garage appearance,” continues Darby. “The metal fabric is perceived as a unique, contemporary way to wrap a garage, adding an element of visual texture to the elevations.”
The parking facility was completed in December 2006 and is fully operational. The structure was built as part of a $16 million development of the Reservoir Woods office complex at the site of the former global research headquarters of Polaroid Corporation. The contemporary complex dramatically contrasts with its setting amid the rolling, picturesque woodlands of New England.
In addition to Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Inc. of Boston, MA, the project team included project manager John Moriarity & Associates, Winchester, MA, and structural engineer Capobianco & Associates, Inc., Boston. The building is owned by Davis Marcus Partners, Boston.
Cambridge’s Eclipse tension attachment hardware was used to install the Scale and Mid-Balance products. Tailored edges are provided for expanses of flexible metal fabric in tension. Elegant, custom cut apertures receive the metal fabric ends in tubing that is integrated into a bracket and structural support design. Tube sizes may vary to emphasize or de-emphasize the attachment. The Eclipse hardware is appropriate for lengths of metal fabric held in tension up to 100’.
Cambridge maintains a fully-staffed engineering department to assist with design-build questions, installation details, framing design and load characteristics, and is also available for on-site installation supervision.