Banker Wire worked with ZGF Architects LLP to create a custom mesh railing infill for the South Tower building on UCLA’s Center for the Health Sciences (CHS) complex. The 443,000 sq. ft. building underwent a seismic upgrade and renovation to convert nine of the former hospital’s 12 floors into research lab space.
The upgrade and renovation is part of the South Tower Seismic Renovation project - a four-phase initiative to reinforce the building’s structure, make interior improvements on levels 2-12, and make exterior upgrades to comply with new energy requirements. This was all to be done without compromising the structure’s architectural integrity.
ZGF Architects challenged Banker Wire to manufacture a custom woven wire mesh pattern for use as railing infill in a new exterior stair tower. The infill needed to be built to specifications for safety, transparency, and aesthetics. Banker accepted the opportunity and began developing tooling to create the perfect pattern to complement the high-performance, ultra-clear glass curtainwall.
ZGF’s vision was to maximize openness without diminishing the strength of the railing infill material. Banker Wire turned this vision into reality by creating a new mesh pattern - M55Z-2 - a rectangular 5-wire repeat infill with a high percent open area. Its long, straight sections of wire are interrupted by a smooth and gentle crimp.
“We chose to work with Banker Wire’s product because we wanted the railing infill to look somewhat transparent while meeting building codes,” said Phiroze Titina, Principal with ZGF. “Banker delivered a maintenance-free material that satisfied both of these needs for the railing systems in an unconditioned space.”
“We really appreciated ZGF sharing their vision with us, and giving us the opportunity to satisfy that vision,” said Harrison Horan, Vice President of Banker Wire. “As a result, a beautiful new mesh has been created through the collaboration of the designer and the manufacturer.”
The glazed curtainwall, with the help of louvers and soffits, facilitates natural ventilation to save on energy costs. The constant breeze moving from the top to the bottom of the tower during the day creates the potential for wind-driven rain or humid air to pass through. The mesh will maintain its pristine look indefinitely because it resists these conditions.
“We are extremely happy with how the railings look. We couldn’t have asked for a more versatile and durable product for this application,” added Titina.
The South Tower is the largest single building on the UCLA CHS campus. Supporting the David Geffen School of Medicine Research and Education programs, it was designed for LEED Platinum certification. The University saved $78 million by retrofitting the existing structure and shell of the building.
Phase 3 of the South Tower Seismic Renovation project was completed in December 2014. The fourth and final phase, “Enhanced Tenant Improvements,” will be completed in June 2017.
The project team included owner University of California, Los Angeles; architect ZGF Architects LLP, Los Angeles, CA; general contractor (Phase 1) LVI Services, New York, NY; general contractor (Phase 2 and 3) PCL Construction Services Inc., Denver, CO; and construction manager Gafcon and Benchmark Contractors, Inc. in a Joint Venture.