Rice University Parking Garage Progress






The installation of the tensile mesh facade on the Rice University parking garage in Houston, Texas is underway. Located south of Allen Center, the seven-story, 159,500 sq ft parking garage will be clad in an extremely strong coated PES tensile mesh screening custom printed to realize the architects’ vision.

Project architect KieranTimberlake wanted the appearance of the screening to draw from Rice University’s location in an oak grove. They specifically selected fig leaves to be the visual for the façade because of the prevalence of fig vines both on the Rice campus and the surrounding Houston neighborhood.

The visuals will be printed at four-times scale on the tensile mesh using a special UV ink and printing process to protect against fading. The trapezoid-shaped panels will be installed on an aluminum tension and steel tube structure so that the panels are taut and completely flat until they reach tree-height, at which point they will begin to rotate away from the garage to convey a sense of movement and energy. Structurflex handled all design, engineering, fabrication, and installation of the embeds, steel framework, aluminum framing and tensile mesh.

The tensile mesh panels provide natural ventilation, which means the parking garage does not need any mechanical ventilation. The tensile screening also reduces solar heat gain and reduces light pollution from both cars and parking garage lights within the structure illuminating neighboring buildings.


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