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Finland’s glare-free West Port terminal

Projects | October 1, 2018 | By:

Dark shades integrate seamlessly into the design and control glare from the wall of windows at the new terminal in the West Port of Helsinki. Photos: PES Architects Ltd.; UK Sunsystems OY; Studio Dekosol Oy; Port of Helsinki Ltd.; YIT Rakennus OY; Mermet SAS.

The Port of Helsinki, located on the Baltic Sea, is a bustling gateway from Finland to the rest of Europe. In 2017, 12.3 million passengers traveled through the harbor, making it Europe’s busiest. It’s also Finland’s top port for foreign trade, with 14.3 million tons of goods transported through the harbor in the same year.

Recently, a new terminal was built at the facility’s West Port in order to streamline and speed up passenger transfers.

Designed by the Finnish firm PES-Architects, the building’s spacious second-floor lobby features a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that offers a view of the sea beyond. The dramatic design came with a challenge—the need to minimize glare while preserving natural light. The bright sun, which is low
in the east in the morning and in the west in the afternoon, made it difficult for employees working at the check-in desks.

PES-Architects turned to Mermet Sun Control Textiles for a solution that would ensure a comfortable work environment by maintaining thermal comfort and reducing direct and indirect glare. At the same time, they wanted to make sure the shading did not impact the architecture or inhibit the view to the outside.

Mermet’s SV 3% Koolblack fabric fit the bill. The charcoal-colored fabric offers optimum indoor heat control with solar reflection at 29 percent, similar to that of light colors. Compare that to conventional dark screens, which for an equivalent fabric achieve five percent solar reflection. It also controls glare by filtering 95 percent of light rays, and offers thermal comfort with 69 percent of solar energy rejected.

The shades consist of 92 sheets of fabric implemented as roll-up blinds, with Somfy IO motors. For more information, visit


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