Glass Canada

Features Architectural design Contracting
SEFAR creates ‘moving image’ for SBB Railway headquarters

November 6, 2014  By SEFAR

dscn4828Nov. 6, 2014 – SBB Railway’s newly-minted headquarters outside of Wankdorf, Bern, has a striking visual feature — SEFAR Architecture VISION fabric, laminated between moveable glass louvers. Five different variations of the VISION fabric interlayer absorb and disperse sunlight. The 6,258 individually moveable slats, which cover the 98,318 square-foot façade, allow occupants to open and angle the panels for fresh air and lighting control.

The five variations – SEFAR Architecture VISION AL 260/25, CR 260/25, PR 260/25 Gold, PR 260/25 Copper, and PR 260/25 Pearl – are laminated metallic fabric interlayers. The exterior of each fabric panel is coated in metal to reflect light for reduced solar heat gain and lower energy costs. The black inner surface of VISION serves as a transparent mesh, shading SBB employees from glare without blocking their view.




SBB Railway chose SEFAR Architecture VISION fabric to provide the best working environment for its staff along with energy savings, while the reflective facade makes the new headquarters a shining fixture in the region. While SBB Railway aims to save on structural costs and increase productivity by centralizing its operations to the new headquarters, 1,700 new jobs will be created. SBB’s move would have been diminished without the careful attention to design and bold choice of facade.

“SEFAR VISION was specified by the architect in order to create something really unique that has not been used before,” says Manfred Starlinger, Project Manager at Colt International GmbH. “The fabric helps create a special effect, as only louvers of the same colors move at the same time, which reflects the look of moving trains. All of this is being done with pre-set angle offsets ranged from five to ten degrees, ensuring proper shading performance at all times.”




The SEFAR Architecture VISION metal-coated precision fabric interlayer is laminated within glass to create unique aesthetic design possibilities in exterior glass facades, curtain walls, windows, and interior and decorative glass partition wall systems. The single-sided metal coating allows for free expression on the exterior of a glass wall without impeding views from those inside and preventing the exterior design from reading through to the interior space.  As a fabric substrate, VISION also reduces the weight requirements of a metal interlayer, allowing it to deliver the equivalent effect at a reduced overall cost.

SEFAR VISION fabrics can also be printed with UV-stabilized inks to produce any Pantone color, patterns, and other design effects without the design reading through to the interior. The fabrics are available in six fabric density configurations and each can be coated with three different metal coatings – Aluminum, Chrome, and Titanium – in addition to printed colors or patterns. The variety of the fabrics allows for unlimited combinations for VISION products. Each fabric features plain or twill weaves in a variety of aperture percentages (25-70%) and light transmission percentages (18-60%).

In addition to SEFAR Architecture, members of the project team included architect Lussi + Halter Partner AG, Luzern, Switzerland, glass manufacturer BGT Bischoff Glastechnik AG, Bretten, Germany, general contractor ANLIKER AG, Emmenbrücke, Switzerland, and facade builder Colt International GmbH, Kleve, Germany.

For more information

Print this page


Stories continue below