Woven wire is a versatile material that can be used to add flair to a wide range of architectural projects.
However, woven wire can be used in both aesthetic and functional roles in the design of a building, and can also be installed internally and externally; therefore, there's a fair bit of thought that’s needed when selecting woven wire for use in architecture.
Function, for instance. With a variety of materials and profiles to choose from, you will need to consider the function of the woven wire you're planning to install. Woven wire is used for several common purposes including sun shading, providing a shield from wind and rain, creating a partition, and allowing flow of air and light through a space.
But if you are installing a wire mesh feature for privacy, you will clearly need a different profile to one where the desired outcome is to allow more light into an area.
In a recent office fitout for PwC in Sydney, Design Director Gavin Harris wanted a woven wire product for the ceiling that allowed transparency and reflectivity without losing light, aesthetics or sound in the space. Ultimately Locker Group's Planar 441 met all the requirements and was installed to achieve the desired design outcomes.
Woven wire is available in different metal substrates and your selection will have an impact on the look of your design. Locker Group provides woven wire mesh in a variety of materials, including stainless steel, aluminium, brass and galvanised steel. Each material adds a different aesthetic to a space, so it’s important for you to pick the right metal substrate that will fit into the atmosphere you're trying to create.
Internal or external
This is an important consideration when you are choosing a woven wire product for any metal-based architectural feature. The application environment makes a big difference when it comes to selecting your woven wire. Wire mesh being used to provide a feeling of privacy in a restaurant will be under a lot less stress from the elements than when used to create a 3D effect on the outside of a building.
In addition to choosing the woven wire mesh that's best suited to the environmental conditions of your project, it's also important to think about finishing techniques. The right finish will not only protect the metal substrate from the elements, but also enhance its visual proprieties.
The relative weights of the various components being incorporated into your building design are of great importance when establishing safety and costs. Of all the metal materials you're likely to use in your project, woven wire products will probably be the lightest. They range from 0.178 kilograms per square metre (kg/m²) for grade 316 stainless steel to 8.1kg/m² for galvanised steel.
As a lightweight material, wire mesh offers several advantages in design; however, there are still important safety considerations that will need to be factored in, especially for architectural applications such as building facades. The installation of any panel facade, whether wire mesh or perforated metal, should be preceded by a thorough examination of the fixing system, and what the implied load will be for the support structure. For external installations, it's also important to factor in wind loads, especially on corners.
AS/NZS 1170 is the most important standard regulating load requirements for buildings, so ensure that your mesh manufacturer is able to provide full certificates for the products they supply to you.
Additionally, you should consider how weight will impact the ease of installation. In the PwC Sydney project, a supporting spring line was required to ensure a fast and safe implementation of the woven wire on the ceiling. Awareness of these factors can save you time and money when it comes to bringing your design to life.
Costs and deadlines
After safety, costs and deadlines are the biggest considerations. Builds have tight budgets and timeframes, so you need to ensure that the materials you choose aren't going to break the bank or cause you to fall behind.
The lightweight characteristics of woven wire mesh allow easy installation, reducing labour costs and helping achieve project deadlines.
When Locker Group supplied stainless steel woven wire for use in Vogel House, a high profile building in the parliamentary district of Wellington, New Zealand, the installation process was completed in a matter of days. The mesh was delivered in three rolls and attached at the top and bottom of the staircase as screening, with Locker Group providing technical assistance to ensure a fast but safe installation.
Being a versatile and easy material to work with, woven wire, not surprisingly, plays a role in so many architectural designs around the world. Locker Group works closely with their clients to create tailored products that fit project requirements and budgets.