German fabricator Edelstahl-Mechanik manufactured what it says is the world’s first hydroformed tensile architectural façade. Bodycote supported the company by providing heat-treatment services. A total of 12,800 steel panels in 14 different profiles were precisely fabricated and sculpted by Edelstahl-Mechanik using hydroforming. Hydroforming uses water pressure to shape thin metal plates against a mold to create custom pieces. Bodycote then annealed the stainless steel panels. Annealing is a heat-treatment process that alters the microstructure of a material to change its mechanical or electrical properties.
Designed by Behnisch Architekten, the newly constructed Science and Engineering Complex is located at Harvard University in Boston, Mass. In keeping with the university's dedication to sustainability, exterior stainless steel façade panels were designed to minimize solar heat gain in warm weather months, capture thermal energy in cold weather months and provide natural light to the interior spaces.
Stephen Harris, Bodycote Group chief executive, said, “The project demonstrates the value of how our thermal-processing solutions can be applied to not only aerospace or automotive industries but for architectural applications providing durable and sustainable solutions.”