With over 1,200 miles of coastline, ancient ruins and scenic dunes, the African nation of Libya has much to offer visitors. Designed by renowned architects Murat and Meklan Tabanlioglu, the Tripoli International Convention Center, located in the country’s capital city, Tripoli, was recently constructed to serve as a meeting place for international representatives. Its unique design is symbolic of the country’s beauty and demonstrates the communication that will take place within its walls. Over 91,000 square feet of GKD (Gebr. Kufferath AG) Kiwi woven metal mesh and 3,700 square feet of its Mediamesh® were used on the façade.
The Tripoli International Convention Center, surrounded by a large park, reflects the building’s natural environment. The two-story center is designed with sharp-edges, recessed glass cladding and a projecting roof structure. It is covered with more than 500 rhombic and trapezoidal square panels of GKD’s semi-transparent Kiwi metal mesh. The panels, which vary in size, are attached to the building’s exterior creating a pattern similar to the structure of bark from the surrounding pine trees. At night the light inside the building permeates through the slits and mesh, giving the appearance of a forest silhouette.
The design called for the mesh to be a deep bronze color, but architects were challenged by the fact that bronze would eventually tarnish due to oxygen exposure. In response, GKD developed a paint color nearly identical to the desired bronze to paint the stainless steel Kiwi mesh. GKD also helped manage the cost and build time by creating an innovative way to transfer the shapes of the individual panels onto the fabric by laser technology.
The semi-transparent Kiwi mesh provides a level of privacy from the outside world while still providing building occupants with an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape. Although daylight can pass through the mesh, the textile membrane prevents exposure to direct sunlight during the day, serving as a fully functional sunshade. Besides daylighting and sunshading, the mesh provides a form of natural air conditioning for the convention center. The distance of the mesh to the glass cladding allows an even airflow, which creates draft-free cooling.
Located next to the entryway of the convention center is 3,700 square feet of Mediamesh, a high-grade architectural woven stainless steel mesh fabric with interwoven LED profiles, patented by GKD and ag4. The transparent media façade creates a striking entrance and signifies the communicative openness that will take place within the building between international representatives. To create the display, nine panels of Mediamesh, each 39 feet long and 10 feet wide, were integrated into the bronze colored mesh membrane in front of the glass cladding. The high resolution of 292,400 pixels ensures optimal video quality. In addition to individually developed media content, this particular Mediamesh façade can transmit live feeds of events, conferences and films. Content can be seen both by day and by night when turned on and the display’s transparency provides an unobstructed view for building inhabitants and allows daylight to enter. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Mediamesh is weather resistant, easily maintained and consumes less energy than a traditional LED board.
The Tripoli International Convention Center was finished in February 2010. Along with several other recently constructed buildings, the convention center contributes to Tripoli’s new self-image as a modern commercial metropolis.