Guardian Grade Fabricoil® Security Gate Finds Its Place at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center

Coiled Metal Wire Mesh Security Gate Selected to Safeguard Main Gallery

For more than 30 years, the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center has been an important cultural resource for Oklahoma City, providing the public with an opportunity to experience contemporary art and explore their creative potential.

The newest addition is a 53,916-square-foot, four-story building called “Folding Light,” which now anchors the 4.6-acre Oklahoma Contemporary campus. The grounds also include a renovated 9,839-square-foot 1910 historic warehouse and a three-block arts park, providing space for outdoor exhibitions, education programs, and public performances.

The Shining Star

For museums and art centers across the globe, the art and exhibitions are undoubtedly the stars of the show. Even though minimalist interior designs are often used to allow the art to shine, architects and designers of these spaces must rely on modern, elegant materials to pull it all together.

Enter Fabricoil® – the innovative, flexible coiled metal wire mesh material used for an array of interior designs.

For Oklahoma Contemporary, architects at Rand Elliott Architects specified a 5/16” aluminum metal wire mesh Guardian Grade Fabricoil Security Gate in a Pure White finish to secure the museum’s main gallery. The gate is deployed when Oklahoma Contemporary closes the gallery while other portions of the building remain open for events.

Before selecting Fabricoil, the team considered using a material similar to the lightweight aluminum fins that clad the exterior. Ultimately, flexible and durable Fabricoil metal wire mesh provided the right aesthetic and performance characteristics, hitting the mark on all project requirements.

Smart, Sleek and Secure

The challenge was to introduce a security gate into the museum’s interior without disrupting the flow of the design. Designers also needed to avoid a stark contrast between the gate, other architectural materials used, and the surrounding exhibits.

“The Fabricoil material is wonderful. We needed the gate to be made from a sophisticated material appropriate for an art gallery, one that relates to the design of the building and does not look like a mall gate,” said Bill Yen, AIA, principal at Rand Elliott Architects.

The Fabricoil wire mesh panel possesses a softer, sleeker texture and appearance compared to traditional metal mesh or standard security gates. It is a high-end architectural component in itself, which makes it ideal for spaces like Oklahoma Contemporary by not compromising the integrity of the design.

Hidden in Plain Sight

On the second floor where the main gallery resides, the Fabricoil metal wire mesh is connected to Cascade’s Aluminum Secura Track with Valance attachment system, which allows the material to glide with ease. The system features easy-locking footbolts, batons to assist in operation, and a final turn lock assembly.

The team at Rand Elliott Architects designed a wall cavity to store the entire Guardian Grade Fabricoil System when it’s not in use. Although the overhead valance remains visible, the entirety of the wire mesh panel, each locking footbolt, and the complete lock mechanism channel all seamlessly slide into the wall storage pocket. During daytime operating hours, the system is completely inconspicuous to guests.

State of the Art

According to Rand Elliott, FAIA, principal at Rand Elliott Architects, “The greatest challenge of any project is controlling the details as it requires us to understand the importance of coordinating all of the disciplines that go into constructing a building.”

Using a Fabricoil metal wire mesh system and an array of other choice materials, the design team was able to create one of the most unique, high-performing, and sustainable art centers in the country.

“Our goal is always to make function beautiful,” added Elliott.

Oklahoma Contemporary won the 2018 Interior Design “Best of Year” Honoree Award in the Unbuilt Commercial Category and the 2020 World Architecture News (WAN) Award, Shortlisted in the Civic Category.

The Oklahoma Contemporary project was completed in March 2020.