The Apex is a 260,000 square-foot affordable housing project located along The Four Mile Run Stream in Arlington, Virginia—a neighborhood defined by burgeoning redevelopment and a nearby nature habitat. Gold LEED Certified, the project required durable but sustainable materials like Banker Wire’s mesh.
The design scheme, spearheaded by local firm MTFA Architecture, utilized double-duty materials that require minimal maintenance, while providing urban design vibrancy, longevity, and an industrial aesthetic. Banker Wire’s LPZ-54—a heavy lock-crimp wire mesh with a rectangular pattern—was specified alongside such materials as weathered concrete boards, monochromatic masonry, stained concrete siding, metal trim, and vibrant green accents, acting as the ‘metal jewel’ that ties the design story together.
The five-story, 265-unit multi-family residential building consists of two structures built over a single concrete garage, maximizing landscape and recreation areas adjacent to parkland and natural landscapes. For the exterior, the architectural intent was to find a visual balance between the built environment and natural environment. For each unit’s balcony, LPZ-54—powder coated in silver—was specified to add interest to the elevations while offering some visual privacy to each balcony, all without blocking daylight, airflow, and the surrounding landscape.
Referred to as ‘sails,’ the privacy screen concept relied heavily on LPZ-54—a wire mesh weave with varying appearances depending on one’s viewpoint. From a straight-on perspective, the wire mesh pattern has a 47 percent open area, however, when viewed from a different angle—such as below, adjacent, or above—the negative space, or gaps, between the woven wires become perceptively minimal due to the thickness of the mesh. LPZ-54 is therefore perfect for this type of balcony application, minimizing the openings between each wire to meet both the functional and aesthetic needs of the architect’s vision. Banker Wire then fabricated the wire mesh into ‘Angle Iron’ frames with a mounting strategy that complied with the overall construction of the balconies.
“We looked into several material types to achieve the sails, and were drawn from the beginning to some sort of metallic mesh or fabric that would play with light, add interest and sheen to the façade,” said the project’s lead design architect, Philippe Jentsch, AIA. “Banker Wire was one of a few metal weave manufacturers we contacted that ended up having competitive pricing, as well as being more responsive in helping us choose the proper weave and convincing our client of the mesh’s potential. The idea of adding planes perpendicular to the skin to add texture and shadow play seemed spot-on, while still serving a privacy function. Banker Wire offered the exact material we were missing to complete our intent.”