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Moveable glass and fabric facade

January 1st, 2015 / By: / Case Studies

Louvers create stunning architectural detail while blocking sun glare.

By Juli Swiler

For its new headquarters, built outside of Bern, Switzerland, SBB Railway wanted to create a unique facade. The company also wanted to save energy and provide its employees with a superior working environment. All goals were achieved by installing moveable glass louvers, with metallic fabric laminated in between, on the outside of the building. The result is a reflective facade that makes the new headquarters a shining edifice.

The design consists of 6,258 individually moveable slats on the 98,318-square-foot building that occupants can open and angle for fresh air and lighting control.

SBB Railway worked with Sefar Inc., a Buffalo, N.Y., producer of precision fabrics. The fabric is SEFAR® Architecture VISION, and five different variations of the fabric interlayers were used. The exterior of each fabric panel is coated in metal to reflect light for reduced solar heat gain and lower energy cost. The black inner surface is uncoated, allowing inhabitants to see through the material as an ordinary open-weave shade.

The variations in metallic color are particularly dramatic as louvers of the same color move at the same time.

Julie Swiler is a freelance writer, editor and publicist based in St. Paul, Minn.

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