Photo: Cannon Design

Cambridge Architectural has incorporating its etched metal mesh with in a five-story stair tower façade at Ohlone College in Freemont, Calif. The college name and a decorative tree design were etched into 1,451 square feet of Cambridge’s Mid-Shade mesh by sandblasting the surrounding raw stainless steel to create a dull matte finish.

At 42% open area, the mesh weave provides shading to the southern exposure but preserves daytime views of San Francisco Bay and the surrounding area for stair users. At night, a lit burnt orange wall creates a 3D like effect to illuminate the metal artwork.

Mesh fabric on the stair tower complements the steel frame and metal panels used on the attached structure, one of three academic core buildings added to the terraced hillside grounds. The transformative project, opened in early 2020, was designed by architecture firm ABA to modernize and unify the campus.

Photo: Cannon Design

“The stainless steel fabric and graphic created a visual landmark to aid in campus way-finding and adds an aesthetically interesting space to promote campus identity and stair usage to navigate building levels,” says Cannon Design architect John Son.

The use of stainless steel mesh as a building material reinforces the college’s desire to create a green building that incorporates materials that were recycled or salvaged from other projects.