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15. July 2014

Bronze-coloured solar protection mesh unites two worlds

In the heart of St Kilda, a suburb of the southern Australian city of Melbourne, one can find one of the region's most imposing buildings in the form of the mysterious and appealing Luna Apartments. For the facade of its extravagantly formed shell, the architects chose bronze-coloured anodised solar protection mesh from the technical weaving company GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG (GKD) from Düren, Germany. The world market leader in the field of architectural and design mesh designed a sophisticated sun protection system that lends the building its functional convenience combined with an unmistakeable appearance.

For the extraordinary design, the architects were inspired by the world famous Star Wars films. They designed this futuristic building as a homage to Princess Leia. Through the interplay between fully covered curved sections and parts of the building that reveal an appealing and very feminine metallic bronze bikini look, the apartment block reflects the apartment block reflects Leia’s unearthly appearance in both form and colour. This versatility also reveals itself in the building shell: partially covered, partially open to the outside – however the residents please. This variability of intimacy and openness is made possible by moveable privacy and solar protection elements as well as special lighting technology. If the resident uses the lighting inside the room, the apartment is visible from outside. If, however, they use the exterior lighting, which illuminates the room just as brightly through the fully glazed, reflective front, passers-by see nothing more than a shining bronze facade while the resident, protected from prying eyes, can observe the street below.

Solar protection shell unites fantasy with reality
This effect is supported by the glossy sun protection facade made of ALU 6010 bronze-coloured aluminium mesh from GKD. The panels were anodised in an immersion process. 289 solar protection elements with different widths – some fixed, some manually foldable – give the building its striking appearance. In total, around 600 square metres of mesh seamlessly encase the building, providing a pleasant environment for residents and visitors and ensuring energy efficiency through selective and targeted shading while at the same time offering a high level of transparency. With an average of around nine hours of sunshine per day in January, the rooms would heat up very quickly in the southern Australian summer. However, the semi-transparent metallic mesh skin provides reliable protection from direct sunlight while allowing daylight to stream unhindered into the building. As such, costs for the energy consumption of air conditioning units and additional lighting are drastically reduced. The edges of all mesh panels were folded around the frame, thus creating a seamless, bronze veil that unites fantasy and reality.

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