MMM – Steel Veils are Decorating Buildings

From Mexico City to North Carolina to Minnesota, metal panels are serving as artistic veils for buildings.

Check out this amazing facade on an office building in Mexico City! As reported in The Architects Newspaper, “Profiles is a six-story commercial building draped in a diaphanous and perforated carbon-steel veil that partially resembling a stylish extraterrestrial ship landed in the heart of the city.” The primary function of the carbon-steel veil is to serve as an exterior-shading device, and to this effect, the design team used a digital script to randomly distribute the perforations.

Profiles Building in Mexico City

Created by Belzberg Architects, the facade consists of a CR Glass–produced curtainwall shaded by a cloak of perforated carbon steel fabricated by El Roble. Walkways are located between the screen and the glass, providing a significant amount of elevated outdoor space for the building. Belzberg Architects has been delivering forward-thinking facade systems across North America for some time now. Carbon steel, as opposed to steel or stainless steel, contains a greater proportion of carbon—up to 2.1 percent. As a result of this larger carbon content, carbon steel possesses a malleability highly suitable for undulating second skins. In total, over 450 carbon-steel panels—flat, single curved, and double curved—are draped over the facade.

Ned Kahn’s Wind Veil in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Ned Kahn’s Wind Veil is a 260’ long by 6-story tall facade of a parking garage that illustrates changing wind activity. The “veil” is made of 55 panels containing a total of 80,000 anodized aluminum louvers, each three inches square, that wave in the wind. Viewed from the outside, the entire wall of the building appears to move in the wind and creates the impression of waves in a field of metallic grass. Inside the building, intricate patterns of light and shadow, similar to the way light filters through the leaves of trees, are projected onto the walls and floor as sunlight passes through this kinetic membrane. In addition to revealing the ever-changing patterns of the invisible wind, the artwork was designed to provide ventilation and shade for the interior of the parking garage. This project was commissioned by Bank of America and completed in August, 2000.

The “Wave” Wind Veil at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Another one of Ned Kahn’s imaginative creations, The Wave is a sculpture that serves as the backdrop for the plaza of Target Field, the home baseball field of the Minnesota Twins. To create the giant kinetic sculpture, MG McGrath fabricated and installed 51,000 pieces of aluminum that included 9,000 pieces approximately 5 inches long and 4 inches wide that move with the wind. Since small plastic grommets inside the curl were used to attach the panels to cables, each end curl had to be exact. The sculpture is approximately 285 feet wide and 60 feet high, and covers the B Parking Garage. The addition of LED lighting makes this a one-of-a- kind public art structure. Metal Construction News featured this work of art in January 2013.

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