Working With Wire - Design Bureau
Berkeley campus stairs
Berkeley campus stairs


Four Seasons entry


Working With Wire

Friday, April 27th, 2012

By Ryan Delia

What’s in a wire mesh? If you’re talking about one from 115-year-old manufacturing company Banker Wire, then it’s bound to be tough. Maybe even tough enough to contain sharks. Harrison Horan, who has been working with mesh at Banker Wire for eight years, gives us the inside scoop on their wefts, weaves, and other steel styles. Wire is one of those materials that appears stealthily simple. 

So tell us, how is it made?
Our wire is woven with two pieces of equipment, a crimper and a loom. The crimper forms the pocket where two wires intersect. The weaver then organizes the crimped lengths of wire and weaves in the cross wires.

There are already hundreds of shapes, sizes, and patterns of wires available, but do you ever do custom designs? 
Sure, we can create custom patterns without a problem. The beauty of wire mesh is that it is not meant for just one application; the possibilities are literally endless.

What is the most creative application of Banker Wire that you have seen?
The staircase at the University of California, Berkeley stands out. It has an opaque weave with a relatively thin diameter and a futuristic texture and transparency. It was designed to look like it was floating. 

Indulge us: which wire mesh would you use to build a shark tank?
I would definitely err on the safe side for this one. Thankfully, we have the ability to weave up to a .375-inch diameter wire. That ought to hold them back.

Sprucing Up The Four Seasons
“Stucco and the damp Pacific Northwest climate do not mix,” says Todd Kilburn, the principal architect of Seattle’s Kilburn Architects. He knows this firsthand, having completed a total stucco façade overhaul on The Four Seasons condo building. By the time the condo association hired Kilburn to fix the Portland, Oregon structure, water intrusion had wreaked massive havoc, causing wall damage and mold problems. “We had to take it down to the studs to fix the problems,” Kilburn says, “but that gave us the opportunity to revamp the entire structure.”

As part of the renovation, Kilburn wanted to upgrade The Four Season’s handrails and balcony treatments “so that they looked a little more contemporary, could be seen through, and would weather well in Portland.” He sourced a number of materials, but ultimately chose Banker Wire stainless steel mesh because it best fit the renovation’s new modern style. It took Kilburn a year  to complete the work, but now that the façade is done and the Banker Wire panels are in place, he says everybody living at The Four Seasons likes the new look. “The mesh panels definitely update the façade and made the project super successful.” 


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