In Aspholz, Zurich a seven story student residence has been built to accommodate 332 students in 30 apartments and 11 studios, making it the largest of its kind in Zurich. For the project, Darlington Meier Architects had Iranian-born Swiss artist and photographer, Shirana Shahbazi, design the external screens. She is renowned for her work with typically vibrant colours around the world.
Darlington Meier Architects from Zurich, have used tall and wide windows to increase the amount of sunlight able to reach the kitchens and living rooms from the forward loggias. The sun protecting screens are correspondingly sizeable with the largest measuring around 18m².
To use these external blinds as a surface for artistic purposes, is only effective if it is under tension maintaining a smooth visual appearance. This also needs to be the case when the winds pick up and thus needs to be storm-proof. The greatest difficulty in this project, however was that the external blinds had to be fixed over open loggias and not a typical window. RENSON solved this task by using are Fixscreen vertical blind. The product was once the World’s first wind-resistant screen; and it is tested for wind speeds of up to 130 km/h, with maximum sizes of up to 22m².
In addition to the mechanical properties, the fabric selection played a big role when it came to the coloured coating. On the one hand, the fabric is to provide protection against the sun, while it should also be permeable to the light, so as it does not get too dark in the summer. The white polyester fabric Soltis 86 was chosen as the base for the colourfully designed west side of the building for these reasons. The screen pleasantly shades from the sun, while allowing visibility from the inside.
The high degree of transparency, which is typical for screens, is used by the artist to superimpose colours on the outside with different colours on the inside. To this end, the blinds were coated with a different, varying colour pattern from the inside. The residents therefore get to enjoy a colour overlay that is not visible from the outside.
For the exact colour coating of the fabric, the artist developed a façade plan to reveal the geometric patterns extending across the entire façade. This was the source for the partial patterns on the screens. Each blind is a standalone colour composition, which combines with the adjacent blinds for an extended artwork. The complete artwork is created only when every screen have been closed simultaneously. As this is unlikely to occur, this moving artwork will only present itself in full to very few, attentive viewers.