Aerial view of the aviary embedded into the mountain landscape
09. December 2020

Precision planning and production for rapid installation

Webnet made to measure for animal enclosures and aviaries

An aviary that blends into its surroundings. The secret to this: a precisely tailored stainless steel mesh by Jakob Rope Systems. This allows direct installation on site and perfectly planned structures.

Built in 2020, the aviary for choughs is part of the AareAlps, a mountain landscape in the animal park of Berne. The rocky habitat provided very irregular edges on which the nets had to be installed. Jakob Rope Systems solved this problem with a precise planning process.

Jakob was responsible for planning the structure including steel construction and structural analysis of the mesh structure as well as the execution. Jakob’s digital workflow of measuring, planning and in-house production resulted in installation-ready meshes, that didn't have to be adjusted on site.

Stainless steel mesh for complex topographies

The total net structure of about 300 square meters is supported by the concrete entrance portal and pylons with hinged connections. This connection prevents constraints, especially under variable loads, and optimal control of the rope forces. The net areas are subdivided by Jakob Forte spiral cable systems of 16 and 19 millimeter diameter. Cables of diameter 26 millimeters were used for the tie back cables, and a sleeveless Webnet with a rope diameter of 2 millimeters and a mesh width of 50 millimeters was used for the mesh.

The landscape was created using artificial rock. The structure is anchored to the retaining walls behind the artificial rock and at the tie and pylon footings including micropiles. In addition to the permanent loads such as dead load and stressing forces, snow loads and wind loads were considered for the design, both based on tests of our Webnet. Specially due to the snow loads bigger deflections may occure of the roof perimeter cables. To minimize possible bending on the fittings and brackets, the new Jakob Forte Toggles were used for these ropes. The cables with their fittings and the meshes were all colored black using the spectral-coloring method. This enhances the unobtrusive and transparent effect of the enclosure.

Digital workflow from measuring to production

Precise planning and dimensioning in the form-finding process allows to pattern panel geometries for freeforms. With the help of special software, the Jakob engineers model mesh structures with account to their direction-dependent load deflection behavior. From these structures, the engineers generate two-dimensional mesh patterns. Additionally, geometric deductions are made to the mesh outer contour, for example for the cable fittings.

These precise final mesh contours are used to generate workshop drawings for production. This allows a successful assembly of the meshes as delivered on site.

Precision production in-house by Jakob

Jakob produced the Webnet mesh areas in its in-house production facilites. Ready-made stainless steel meshes provide great possibilities and advantages for precision-built animal enclosures and other net structures with irregular border topographies. These include:

  • very precise and perfectly fitting net structure
  • no cutting of the mesh on site necessary
  • shorter installation times and cost optimization
  • no damaging of swaged mesh sleeves

Engineering for complex mesh structures

We plan, produce and install complex structures out of stainless steel mesh and cables. Our engineering team loves a challenge. Together with our customers and our network of partners, we find solutions that combine beauty and efficiency.

Fabian Graber, head of the Jakob engineering team and author of this article, is happy to answer your questions on Webnet structures and customized meshes.

Ask for a quote

Portrait Fabian Graber
Fabian Graber
Head of Technology
+41 34 495 10 27


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