Wire mesh railing infill panels line the perimeter of several areas in Ridgeline High School in Spokane Valley, Washington; the student commons, stairways, and upper floor balconies. When planning the 240,000 square foot building, designers at ALSC Architects crafted an environment that focused on many goals. These include program exposure, equity and access for all, and collaborative spaces for up to 1,600 students. Grand windows, large common areas, and high ceilings promote a bright, open setting with steady natural light in every room of the school. Wire mesh railings serve this design, creating nearly transparent barriers as an alternative to solid walls.
Banker Wire’s Architectural Wire Mesh pattern FPZ-16, woven in stainless steel, makes up the panels that fill in the railings throughout Ridgeline High School. Each grid is enclosed with Banker’s stainless steel U-Edge framing, secured with tabs welded to the wire mesh frames. Mounting the panels in this manner gives the impression that they are hovering within the openings. This visual effect adds to the airy environment of the school. With the ability to be cut and customized as needed, FPZ-16 forms rectangular and triangular wire mesh railing infill panels that ensure code compliance.
The tailored shape of the pieces creates a striking visual on the school’s floating stairs. Most of the wire mesh railing infill panels in this design are rectangular. Triangular pieces fill the spaces created by the dynamic orientation of the panels. This configuration creates visual intrigue while maintaining a consistent barrier. The horizontal lines of the wire mesh, following the slope of the stairs, evoke a feeling of fluid movement. Varying shades of grey adorn the space, enriched and enhanced by the bright highlights of the stainless steel mesh. Adding the distinctive metal accent to the combination of surrounding materials emphasizes the modern industrial atmosphere throughout the campus. While the wire mesh complements its surroundings, the material makes a stylish statement on its own.
“FPZ-16 provides a distinctive element that increases student visibility and connectivity while helping to define the unique vision of this new high school,” states Terri McRae of ALSC Architects. “The openness of the woven panels facilitates visual connections and supervision between the different spaces.”
Though FPZ-16 adds decorative details to the common areas, the wire mesh railing infill panels are also highly functional. With a 66.5% open area, FPZ-16 is an ideal compromise between visibility and stability. The T304 stainless steel of the wire mesh is also very practical. Strength and durability ensure that the boundaries stand up to daily use and excessive wear and tear in high traffic areas. With minimal care, this stainless steel will reliably last for years to come.