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Fabric Facades: A highly effective solution with many benefits

Fabric Facades: A highly effective solution with many benefits

Fabric façades are the new generation façade and are much more than just a textile wrap for a building. Our VALMEX façade product range is meant for new buildings or renewing façades. It offers numerous design options with different perforations & colours. From hard and sharp edges to smooth and sculptural curvatures these meshes are made for long-lasting cladding applications. The resistance, durability and permeability have been the key characteristics through-out the development process. These are lightweight & high strength meshes which recreate weightless and natural forms & generate innovative eye-catch architecture. These meshes are breathable, block UV rays and reduce solar heat gain. Fabric façade is a sustainable & Economical solution. Savings in weight, hence sub construction and material consumption are smart in terms of sustainability.

In most cases, fabric façades are used as curtain-wall facing with air space. Smartness is hence limited to providing for a clever way of spreading the light. The sun-shading effect is the most important function of today’s fabric façades. Here again, adaptivity is limited to making whole parts of the façade move. Hence it is the structural system which reacts to climatic alterations rather than the fabric itself. In the case of a fabric façade of an office building in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, the sun radiation is extremely high and as the office spaces are only used during the day, here the constant sun shading effect of the fabric façade is absolutely beneficial for the Indoor Environmental Quality.

Office building in Esmeraldas, Ecuador
This shows another advantage of fabric façades: the location of the offices, directly on the beach of the Pacific Ocean, would make it almost impossible to open windows individually if there was not the sun- and simultaneously wind-shielding screen in front of the climatic façade. There is yet a third property which underlines the multi-functionality of fabric façades. Whereas the people working in the offices can easily look through the fabric from inside, it is almost impossible to peek through from the other direction.

At night this function is reversed: if the inner spaces are lit, the open area within the fabric mesh becomes more evident than the woven material itself and therefore allows outsiders to look into the building. Textile façade materials mainly consist of fabric meshes, that is to say grids or scrims. When used for example for stadia façades where wind tunnel testing is essential within building permission processes it is very difficult to simulate the fabric’s open area. Whereas the 1:1 mesh consists of around 70 per cent material and 30 per cent open area it is almost impossible to scale down the open area –and mostly its effect on wind movements- scaled down to 1:200 for example.

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
The design of the façade in Nizhny Novgorod Stadium creates analogies with the theme of water that is a dominant feature in the city. Behind the colonnade that surrounds the building, a tensile cable structure holds blue and white membrane panels of irregular forms. The mesh membrane for these important design features was produced in Germany by Low & Bonar GmbH. The mesh that was used for the stadium’s façade in Nizhny Novgorod is Valmex TF 400 with an open area of 30%. It serves for the wave-look in blue and white from the outside and at the same time gives an airy impression when seen from the grandstand’s perspective in the inside. As it is the case at Volgograd Arena, Low & Bonar coated a specific blue which is not only to correspond to the architect’s idea of conveying the water image within the façade. At the same time, it matches the colour of the club that will use the stadium in the future.

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