The newest addition to the University of Calgary campus in Calgary, Alberta, Canada is the Taylor Family Digital Library. It houses over 9 million assets including 32,000 print monographs, over 1 million maps and aerial photographs, and 847,461 architectural drawings, amongst its wealth of resources. The innovative and sustainable educational center is incomparable to any other facility in North America and competes on a global scale in its support of research and learning.
The building’s design incorporates a stainless steel mesh façade by Cambridge Architectural of Cambridge, MD. Visually the material reflects the state-of-the-art sophistication of the structure while functionally it protects important documents from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.
Conceptualized by Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning, Inc., the 265,000 sq. ft. facility is a unique coupling of libraries, archives, art collections, and academic support services, and has become the centerpiece of the University of Calgary campus. The project also meets LEED® Gold certification criteria. The mesh façade contributed to points in various areas including exterior solar shading credits providing optimized energy performance, daylighting and views credits, as well as the use of 100% recyclable materials.
“Kasian selected the stainless steel mesh used as a screening device on the exterior of the building for three primary reasons,” says Bill Chomik, the Principal Design Architect on the project. “Firstly, the mesh reduced the amount of solar gain into the Information Commons - a glass box intended to be the centerpiece of the library. Second, the mesh diminished glare, and thirdly, the screen leant an interesting and beautiful dimension to the architectural and aesthetic quality of the building.”
Using 5,630 sq. ft. of Cambridge’s flexible Mid-Balance weave, which features 52% open area, the solar shading is a self-tensioning system employing an Eclipse™ attachment, which hides the ends of the mesh in a tube, giving the shades a clean, modern look. The General Contractor for the building was CANA Construction from Calgary, Alberta, and the installation of the facade was completed by Flynn Canada Ltd. of Mississauga, Ontario, who also specified the particular mesh for this project.
“Cambridge’s strength is in their ability to provide a complete engineered system,” says Colin Lazaruk, Project Manager from Flynn Canada Ltd., “as many of the competitors don’t provide much more than the mesh.
“Working with the team at Cambridge was also a positive experience,” Lazaruk continues. “When issues come up I find that the best measure for a company’s performance is how it is dealt with as well as how quickly it is dealt with, and I was quite impressed with both.”