The glass facade of the new University of Birmingham library, in the UK, employs the beauty of SEFAR Architecture's VISION fabric interlayer, while benefitting from its daylighting and energy management capabilities. The new library is one of the key features of the university's £300-million campus regeneration.
Birmingham-based Associated Architects designed the project, specifying PR 260/55B Gold SEFAR VISION fabric for glass vertical fins to provide a modern take on functionality. Visually, the VISION fabric interlayer gives a contemporary aesthetic to the library. The high level of laminated glazing maximises views into and out of the building, while achieving optimum daylighting and creating a quiet perimeter study area.
Functionally, SEFAR VISION fabric interlayers improve thermal performance by reducing heat loading and will save building owners additional expenses on HVAC. The laminated fabric mesh will also reduce glare by mitigating visual light transmission, eliminating the need for exterior louvres and interior shading systems. SEFAR VISION uses the three-dimensional effects of the fabric, to provide a unique depth to the glass facade, which is typically seen as a two-dimensional system.
SEFAR VISION fabric interlayers are most often used to create unique designs in exterior glass facades, rain screens, curtain walls, glass rails, and interior and decorative glass partition-wall systems. In addition to its aesthetic benefits for these applications, SEFAR assists with thermal modelling to demonstrate how the VISION fabric interlayer reduces solar heat gain.
SEFAR VISION fabric interlayers can also be printed with UV-stabilised inks to produce any Pantone or RAL colour, customisable patterns and other visual effects, without the exterior-facing design reading through to the interior. The fabrics are available in four density configurations. Each can be produced with three different metal coatings - aluminium, gold and copper - in addition to custom-printed colours or patterns. The variety of the fabrics allows unlimited combinations for VISION products. Each fabric features plain or twill weaves in a variety of aperture percentages (25-55%) and light transmission percentages (18-60%). SEFAR offers a 15-year warranty from the material's delivery date.
The glass installed at the library also contributed to credits for BREEAM, the world's leading sustainability assessment method for master-planning projects, infrastructure and buildings.