The very first thing that travelers now see when entering the United States in Champlain, NY is stunning etched metal fabric from Cambridge Architectural. Two different Cambridge mesh systems lend aesthetic appeal and functionality to the U.S. Land Port of Entry’s primary inspection booths and two processing facilities.
The Champlain Port of Entry, located at the intersection of Canada’s Highway 15 and U.S. Interstate 87, is one of the northern border’s busiest crossings. The 100-acre site consists of five buildings linked by roads and inspection plazas, all built to increase the capacity of passenger and commercial vehicle inspection and processing.
The centerpiece of Cambridge’s contribution to the Port of Entry is a ten-lane-wide expanse of metal fabric placed directly above the primary inspection booths and etched with the words “United States of America.” The impressive signage, a Cambridge MeshFX™ system, provides a unique and modern visual upon entering the country.
“A slight rise in the roadway contributes to the dynamic unfolding of both words and horizon as visitors slow for inspection,” says Henry Smith-Miller, Design Partner and Architect with Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects LLP, the architect of the project. “The sign’s transparency and its purposeful openness allude to the ideas of an open and democratic society founded in an Arcadian landscape.”
Next to the primary inspection booths is the Port’s Commercial Processing Facility, which inspects and processes 1,400 trucks each day. The facility utilizes a Cambridge Solucent™ shading system to screen harsh sunlight entering the south side of the building without obstructing views from the interior. At the same time, the mesh is opaque when viewed from the exterior for privacy purposes. The inherent open-yet-closed nature of Cambridge’s woven metal fabric makes all of this possible, playing on the angles at which it is viewed.
Finally, another Cambridge MeshFX system etches the word “Champlain” on the Port’s twostory cargo processing facility, adding a nice touch of branding to the otherwise utilitarian warehouse.
“It’s an honor to be such a large part of this important project,” says Heather Collins, Director of Marketing for Cambridge Architectural. “We wanted to contribute something inspiring for those entering into the United States of America, and we couldn’t be more proud of the beautiful and functional systems that we, along with the architect, were able to create.”
Cambridge is committed to assisting the design and construction team from initial concept to final installation on each and every project. For the Champlain Land U.S. Port of Entry, Cambridge and Smith-Miller + Hawkinson developed an ideal system to address all the visual and functional needs of the site. Each system was then specifically engineered to each exterior to assure a streamlined installation.
“We worked closely with Cambridge to determine, via full-size mock-ups, the ideal products for the project’s different signs, and to make sure that every component performed according to our design drawings and specification,” says Smith-Miller. “Cambridge was willing to experiment, and did a first-rate job of engineering, manufacturing and installing the products, delivering everything on schedule. The end result is spectacular.”
The MeshFX signage above the primary inspection booths and the Solucent system on the Commercial Processing Facility were fabricated with mesh in Cambridge’s Graph pattern, which features rigid, open weaves that are often used in stair rail systems and grillwork. Cambridge’s U-frame attachment hardware was used to install the Graph product. Metal fabric is tack welded to u-binding and mitered corners are welded and ground smooth for a polished finish.
The MeshFX signage on the cargo processing facility was fabricated with mesh in Cambridge’s Shade pattern, which features large-scaled, flexible open weaves that shade and screen structures including facades, parking garages and pavilions. Cambridge’s Scroll™ tension attachment hardware was used to install the Shade product. The only tension system to keep the focus on the metal fabric by hiding the attachment behind it, Scroll conceals the support by quarter-wrapping the bracket that attaches to the structural support. The unique hardware grips the metal fabric and holds it in tension up to 100 feet.
Construction on the Champlain Land U.S. Port of Entry was completed in March 2010. The project team consists of architect Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects LLP, New York, NY and contractor Northland Associates Inc., Liverpool, NY.
Cambridge Architectural MeshFX metal fabric systems allow architects to explore entirely original and breathtaking forms of design, including etching, reflective lights, color coating and other emerging technologies.
The primary function of Cambridge’s Solucent system is to save energy through solar shading. Like traditional shading materials, Solucent applications significantly reduce solar glare, light pollution and solar heat gain; however, unlike conventional shading materials, architectural mesh also promotes airflow and building security, and is designed to meet an array of opacity, shading and heat reduction requirements. Architectural mesh offers a sophisticated shading material that delivers visual appeal, functionality and energy savings to a wide variety of projects.