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16. March 2019

Metal fabric facade: Investor building as a gateway to the future

The CT2 Center for Teaching and Training at the Medical Faculty of RWTH Aachen University is the first investor building in the completed Biomedical Technology Cluster. Two façades of the light-flooded solitaire are clad in Omega 1520 metal fabric from GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG. The metallic skin impressively underlines the building’s high-tech and interactive ambitions.

As an architectural landmark that can be seen from great distances, the CT2 Center for Teaching and Training was constructed by the Frauenrath corporate group in Heinsberg, Germany, to a design by slapa oberholz pszczulny l sop architects from Dusseldorf, Germany, with a total investment volume of around €20 million. The building offers state-of-the-art training opportunities for students of Medicine, Dentistry, and Biomedical Engineering. Thanks to its fully glazed upper façade, the seven-story cube has the appearance of an inverted “U”, which also creates the impression of a gigantic gateway to the campus located behind it. This impression is underlined by the projecting side panels. The objective was also for the architectural design of the building to give an idea of its significance for the cluster. The side façades were therefore clad with a total of twelve panels of Omega 1520 stainless steel fabric – each measuring 29.5 meters long, 5.4 meters wide, and together covering a total of 1,900 square meters. Acting as solar protection, the shimmering metal fabric skin reduces the surface temperature of the façade, while at the same time generating a visually seamless surface. Yet despite this, the open fabric structure still allows unrestricted natural daylight into the rooms, as well as clear outward views. The fabric is completely recyclable and thereby supports the sophisticated sustainability concept of the new building. The upper and lower edges of the stainless steel fabric were attached using the patented Fusiomesh NG system. Clamping forks ensure that the fabric can be perfectly aligned, and the requisite static preload means that the building can handle the anticipated wind and impact loads. While the panels at the bottom are visibly attached to a continuous steel profile, the fabric at the upper edge of the building is bent backward, producing a clean fabric edge. To reduce the horizontal movements and typical shearing forces encountered at a façade height of approximately 29.5 meters, horizontal stainless steel tubes are arranged as intermediate attachment levels behind the fabric. The fabric is then attached to these tubes from the outside with visible wire clamps.

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