Visitors to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, NE will immediately notice a different kind of fabric – architectural mesh – draping the expansive windows of the venue and dividing the space within. Cambridge Architectural’s Solucent™ metal mesh interior application is suspended in tension parallel to the museum’s windows inside the building. The mesh shades the sun and eases the light gradually as patrons walk through, while Cambridge’s LandscapeInteriors™ system fashionably divides the interior space. Each Cambridge system employs lustrous woven metal fabric – complementing the building’s theme perfectly.
“The metal mesh curtain system functions well in reducing light levels in the reception hall,” says Patricia Crews, Director of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. “We like the texture of the mesh curtains and the ease of maintenance compared to a fabric curtain. The look is clean and in keeping with the overall look of the building.”
The International Quilt Study Center and Museum was built to promote the learning and discovery of quilts and quilt making traditions from various cultures and time periods. The center was formed in 1997, and with the addition of the brand new museum building designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, now boasts a collection of over 2,300 quilts.
“This project really showcases the unique ability of architectural mesh to meet design and function needs at the same time,” says Heather Collins, Director of Marketing for Cambridge Architectural. “The mesh on the windows manages daylight and in the interior it divides space. Inherently the material is a fabric - a perfect aesthetic for the museum.”
The Solucent woven metal mesh application employs daylighting by effectively managing natural light and maximizing visual comfort. All the while, the mesh provides a large-scale streamlined look that makes an elegant statement inside the building, and can be appreciated from the outside as well.
“We were looking for a material that was somewhat transparent, and also acted as a shading element to reduce light levels in the Great Hall,” says Albert Macchietto, Principal of Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, P.C., the architect of record for the project. “Cambridge’s system works well for both purposes.”
The LandscapeInteriors system consists of long metal fabric panels that fill in spaces between building columns, dividing space and controlling foot traffic in the museum. The mesh breaks up the Great Hall nicely, and captures the attention of those walking in the space.
Metal fabric in Cambridge’s Slink pattern was used to fabricate both systems. Slink features flexible, open weaves that resemble jewelry chains and can be installed as window treatments, virtual space dividers or as dynamic design elements with track hardware. Cambridge’s Curtain attachment hardware was used to install Slink. Custom hardware conceals hooks attached to flexible metal fabric, allowing the fabric to hang as a window treatment or draping space divider.
The Quilt Museum project team consists of design architect Robert A.M. Stern, New York, NY, architect Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, P.C., Omaha, NE and contractor Hawkins Construction, Lincoln, NE. The project was completed in January of 2008.
Cambridge’s Solucent mesh shading system was specifically designed to reduce solar heat gain and optimize daylight. Architectural mesh provides a unique alternative to traditional shading systems, as it can be designed to meet almost any structural or opacity requirement. It can be specified to allow the exact amount of light necessary to pass through a given barrier. Mesh is a sophisticated material that delivers visual appeal, functionality and energy savings to a wide variety of projects.
Cambridge also continues to develop and promote architectural mesh applications that will meet the most current credit requirements of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building and Sustainable Design Rating System, specifically in the New Construction (NC) category. In the Quilt Museum, stainless steel mesh contributed to LEED points by assuming a percentage of recycled content used.