In the journey of 4 cities in 4 days, I have both observed and seen the Cambridge metal mesh in different contexts. The main discoveries were found in the connections and the usage of the mesh.
In the Newseum, the use of the metal mesh as the railing fill had a nice initial concept however, the detail and connection of the mesh to the railing was not as clean as the proposed plan was. Some of the mesh was not connected to the railing which caused a few inches of gapping in some areas of the railing. This realization illustrates how important the communication and collaboration is between the architect and contractor. Since the product of the metal mesh takes a lot of time, money, and effort it should only be appropriate for the mesh to be executed as well as it was manufactured.
The next discovery on this journey was found in many different locations, connections varied in both form and purpose. Inside the Naval Academy’s Jewish Chapel, the interior mesh was connected with fine and slender members that were attached to another structure. Whereas in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital garage, the connection requires larger and thicker connection members since the span and size of the mesh requires that amount of connection.
Another discovery on this journey is how some usage of the metal meshes are more productive than others. A great example of using metal mesh not to it’s full potential is on the ceiling where very few observers will recognize and appreciate the intricacy of the mesh. Another example that uses mesh was not used to it’s full potential is on the facade of a mixed housing building. The mesh was very little used and did not have a dramatic effect on the building as a whole. A great example of how metal mesh can be used to it’s full potential is in the Cincinnati Children’s garage and in the Newseum elevators. Both of these examples use the mesh extensively and at a human scale. At the garage, the mesh is used both as a sun-shading device and an aesthetic quality. The elevators at the museum were used mainly as an aesthetic quality but interacted with users directly.
Due to extensive labor that is gone into making fine metal mesh, it is crucial in the process of choosing any material to consider not only the pros and cons but also it’s potential in the specific project and to continue the fine tune of the mesh all of the way to it’s connections.