Western Washington University Academic Instructional Center Western Washington University Academic Instructional Center / Bellingham, Washington, USA

Western Washington University Academic Instructional Center

"The aesthetic of the Cambridge mesh was very desirable to us, especially the way it is fabricated and the texture that it brings to the building.”
- Mark Gifford, Associate Principal, NAC|Architecture
  • Location: Bellingham, Washington, USA
  • Year Completed: 2008
  • End Use: Academic
  • Architect: NAC|Architecture – Seattle, WA
  • General Contractor: Dawson Construction, Inc. – Bellingham, WA
  • Installer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen, Inc. – Seattle, WA
  • Owner: Western Washington University


A Cambridge architectural mesh shading system exudes modern flair for the Academic Instructional Center on the campus of Western Washington University. The unique look of the woven metal mesh shading system dresses the southwest-facing exterior of the building. Long panels of woven metal fabric are installed in tension, perpendicular to the structure’s windows so that they meet the sun at the proper angle.

The sleek, modern panels of Cambridge architectural mesh add another layer of design, bringing an entirely new texture and point of interest to the building.


Cambridge's mesh shading system was a perfect application for the Academic Instructional Center, which needed an exterior facade that could shade the sun while maintaining ventilation and preserving outside views. The inherent nature of architectural mesh allows it to block light, but remain transparent at the same time. Installing the mesh system on the southwest-facing wall allowed for maximum solar shading, and as a result the perpendicular panels were able to reduce heat gain generated by harsh sunlight. The mesh panels also facilitate daylighting to optimize the interior environment and ultimately improve the performance of building occupants.


To fit the overall design and project needs at Western Washington University, Cambridge provided a strategically-designed exterior, specifically built to improve energy efficiency. The shading system reduces cooling loads to the building, which ultimately cuts energy costs. Additionally, stainless steel architectural mesh is a 100% recyclable material that is virtually indestructible, outlasting most other materials in durability and ultimately reducing the need to repair or replace the exterior.

The 120,000-square-foot facility incorporates a number of green building elements that prompted the University to apply for LEED® certification. By employing streamlined and sustainable concepts like metal fabric shading, the Academic Instructional Center has been able to reduce energy usage and optimize building operations. Cambridge architectural mesh also contributes to the daylighting and views section of LEED by decreasing glare and improving quality of light. Cambridge Architectural is an active member of the USGBC®.


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