Cambridge Architectural recently constructed a unique Parkade™ mesh application for a six-level parking garage structure as part of a $170 million expansion at Community Hospital North in Indianapolis, IN. The mesh application achieves beauty, function and economy – a perfect solution for the project’s design requirements.
“Located at the entrance to the hospital, and visible from the interstate, the parking garage design required a unique, aesthetically attractive exterior building material,” explained Mark Hayden, project manager for Community Health Network, the building owner. “But we needed a product that would also offer ventilation, fall protection and security. Cambridge Architectural’s mesh application exceeded our requirements and our expectations.”
“Cambridge Architectural Parkade applications provide solutions for aesthetic and functional design obstacles such as these,” says Heather Collins, director of marketing for Cambridge Architectural. “Our mesh application met all of the project’s requirements and provides a new dimension as a functional design element.”
Over 40,000 square feet of metal fabric in Cambridge’s Scale pattern, supported by Eclipse attachment hardware created the Parkade mesh solution, consisting of 60-ft. tall by 15-ft. wide panels, which visually differentiate the building exterior.
“Parking ramps and openings are virtually disguised, creating an interesting form of glimmering mesh,” describes Jim Johnson, project manager, RTKL, the garage’s Dallas, TX-based designer. “At night, the structure’s exterior lighting illuminates the mesh. During the day, the metal fabric allows sunlight to pass into the parking garage, while creating varying shades of shimmer on the material.”
The metal fabric pattern meets ventilation requirements for parking garages, allowing proper airflow and significantly reducing the need for costly exhaust systems. The metal fabric also meets fall protection requirements and, when used with crash barriers, eliminates the added cost of handrails. The attachment hardware was designed to keep an aesthetic focus on the metal fabric and requires far fewer structurally embedded supports than heavier, panelized alternatives.
“Cambridge’s solution was cost-effective because the mesh provided a human fall-restraint, eliminating the need for extra handrails,” comments Blake Hodge, principal, Carl Walker Inc., parking consultants, also of Dallas. “The open area of the mesh met the requirements to classify the garage as open – allowing us to use a less costly fire suppression system than one required for an enclosed garage.”
“Compared to other mesh manufacturers, Cambridge was more economical and offered the design aesthetics and technical solutions we were looking for,” adds Johnson. “The mesh creates visual interest and emphasizes our vision of turning a parking garage into sculptural architecture.”
“This intricately woven metal is becoming a hot trend in the architectural community because of its aesthetic beauty and the limitless functional characteristics it presents, continues Collins. “The ease of combining aesthetics and functionality make architectural mesh applications uniquely attractive to architects and designers.”
“Across the country I’ve noticed mesh becoming part of an architectural movement in garage design,” continues Hodge. “And working with Cambridge offered many benefits. They simply didn’t sell us the mesh – they offered a complete engineered system.”
Construction of the complex began in November 2004 and was completed in early 2007. Totaling 850,000 sq. ft., it effectively doubles the size of the hospital campus and includes a six-story patient tower, a five-story professional office building and the six-level parking structure. The project also included expanding and renovating 140,000 square feet of the existing hospital. This project has transformed a community hospital into a full-service urban medical complex.
Joining RTKL and Carl Walker Inc. of the project team were Summit Construction, handling the general contracting duties, and ProCLAD, the mesh system installer. Both are headquartered in Indianapolis.
“We specialize in the installation of metal exteriors for commercial and industrial facilities,” explains Steve Miller, project manager, ProCLAD. “This project posed several challenges that we were able to overcome with on-site assistance from Cambridge and with our team approach. We worked through the minor challenges and the result is a functional and beautiful metal exterior.”
Cambridge maintains a fully-staffed engineering department to assist with installation details, framing design, and load characteristics, and is also available for on-site installation supervision.
Cambridge’s Scale metal fabric pattern features large-scaled, flexible open weaves that shade and screen structures including facades, parking garages and pavilions. Eclipse tension attachment hardware was used to install the Scale product. Tailored edges are provided for expanses of flexible metal fabric in tension.