Façade as fall guard
Broomfield Hospital in the British city of Chelmsford is well known in the region for its leading accident and emergency care. However, not only does the hospital meet the highest standards when it comes to patient care – great emphasis has also been placed on quality and safety in the design of its multi-story car park. When charged with the task of realising a modern façade design that allows the structure to blend in with its surroundings while meeting the increased requirements of its users, the architects chose stainless steel fabric from GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG.
The car park of Broomfield Hospital provides room for around 1,800 vehicles over four levels. In Chelmsford – north-east of London – the Peter Emptage Associates architectural firm designed a modern, representative building. The shell made of GKD stainless steel fabric – with 1,100 square metres of Tigris GKD fabric and a further 500 square metres of PC-Tigris fabric – strips the building of its harshly functional appearance. 95 panels, each 2.3 metres wide and 6.2 metres long and some of which with slanting top and bottom edges, were vertically tensioned in front of the structure's façade. The tried and tested structure with round rods and eyebolts was employed as a means of fasting the panels, with the compression spring assembly being hidden behind the fabric. The top parking level is bordered by a mesh balustrade that curves slightly inwards, taking up the round form of the staircase tower. 95 square PC-Tigris panels, which are bent at the corners, were used for the balustrades. Alongside the visual quality of the mesh, the architects were above all convinced by its functionality. Indeed, it offers protection from sun, rain and wind and also serves as a reliable fall guard. Furthermore, its transparency enables an unobstructed view of the outside surroundings, thereby contributing to a pleasant atmosphere and a sense of security.