Friday, 24 August 2012

Levolux creates waves at Butlins

While holidaymakers relax this summer in the new £25m Wave Hotel at Butlin’s Bognor Regis resort, they will be reassured to know they are occupying an ‘intelligent’ building, which employs passive methods to control heat and light, such as a sleek Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

The eight storey building which was designed by PWP Architects lies to the west of the Bognor Regis holiday resort, occupying a prominent position with impressive sea views to the south. The hotel’s nautical theme is apparent throughout the development, from its sweeping white-clad exterior and generously glazed communal areas to its tiered balconies, resembling a cruise ship.

The building’s main entrance is situated at the south-east corner of the ‘L’ shaped building, set within a curved, glazed exterior. To ensure the hotel’s double-height reception remains cool and comfortable is glazed exterior is equipped with a custom Solar Shading solution, supplied and installed by Levolux, the UK’s leading specialist.

In-keeping with the nautical theme, Levolux developed a vertical stack of fixed, rectangular shaped Fabricated Fins that stretch seamlessly across and around the building’s curved facade, rising and falling like a series of waves. Each Fin measures 100mm thick by up to 400mm deep, with a maximum projection of 500mm from the building.
Engineered from extruded aluminium components and fixed at an angle of 90 degrees, the Fins are designed to limit the amount of direct sunlight passing through glazed openings, while allowing unobstructed views outside. They significantly reduce the risk of excessive solar heat gain within the building, which helps to satisfy the legislative requirements of Building Regulations Part L2A.

Levolux’s Fins are chosen by architects time and time again when specifying Solar Shading or Brise Soleil. They not only help to control solar heat gain and maximise daylight levels, but also create a striking external aesthetic that is both attractive a compelling, as evidenced at the Wave hotel.

All Fins used on this project are finished in a bright white matt powder coating, complementing the building’s white, rendered cladding.

Butlins recently celebrated its 75th anniversary and the opening of its Wave Hotel and Apartments represents its most ambitious development in its history. The high-tech hotel is set to make a positive impression to guests this summer as they arrive into a cool, comfortable environment, partly thanks to Levolux’s Solar Shading solution.

For more information, visit

Friday, 17 August 2012

Levolux helps climate change at Eden

Built in the 60m deep crater of a china clay pit, near St Austell, Cornwall, the giant conservatories of the Eden Project capture solar energy and help recreate three of the world’s climate zones (“Biomes”) in an area the size of thirty football pitches. In order to maintain the climatic conditions natural ventilation was a vital element of the design concept and so, Levolux was set the challenge of creating a highly bespoke Glass Louvre system.

The Eden Project is both an international visitor destination and a new scientific institute; a forum to promote the understanding and responsible management of the vital relationship between plants, people and resources. The biomes are designed as a series of geodesic domes made up of giant, individually specified hexagons and pentagons which consist of lightweight galvanised steel tubular frames, triple glazed with highly transparent ETFE (ethyl tetra fluoro ethylene) foil. 

The whole structure is based on a complex 3D computer model and each side of each hexagon and pentagon panels are machined to a unique specification, to fit its position in the sphere. Working closely with a German glass manufacturer, Levolux devised a system of 20mm laminated glass ventilation louvres within mullions that fit the geometry of the design and take the place of the foil within the panels around the base of the conservatories. 

With the panels inclined and measuring up to 9m x 9m, wind loading was one of the many considerations and Levolux produced a full scale mock up of the system. Working with colleagues in Germany, aluminium mullions were developed that are not only elegant, unobtrusive and aesthetically in keeping with the main framework, but are capable of providing the necessary rigidity.
Some 500mm wide, each of the glass louvre blades operates on stainless steel pivots, but the need to provide an adequate seal when the louvres were closed called for the development of a two-part polymer moulding. Another prime concern was the need for large air handing ducts to pass through the panels. The louvres themselves are motorised and controlled by the building management system.

Michael Pawlyn, project architect, Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners commented: “There was quite a lot of collaborative work and Levolux really entered into the spirit of it. They were keen to produce a very high quality product and it proved a rewarding experience and we are very pleased with the end result. Levolux developed the system with a fair amount of ingenuity and it has subsequently performed well - I would approach them again.”

For more information, please visit

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Levolux steps up to the mark in Cheshire

In creating their latest Sustainable Learning Store, Marks & Spencer used cutting-edge eco-building technologies, such as rainwater harvesting, biomass heating and a Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

Designed by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson architects, the BREEAM rated ‘Excellent’ development provides more than 148,000 sq feet of retail space, arranged over two floors, with two separate cafes and a giant Food Hall.

The external envelope of the building features full-height glazed sections set into its south elevation and across the length of its east facing elevation, which is interrupted by two main entrances.

The large expanse of glazing allows natural daylight to penetrate deep into the core of the building, reducing the dependency on artificial lighting. To counter the risk of excessive solar heat gain, which would otherwise require offsetting with expensive air conditioning, Levolux was approached to develop an external Solar Shading solution.

In-keeping with the ‘sustainability’ theme, Levolux proposed a solution comprising rectangular Timber Fins arranged into a series of vertical stacks, applied to the main building and to the adjacent car park.

In total, Levolux manufactured, supplied and installed more than 250 single piece Timber Fins, each engineered from Western Red Cedar, which has been finger-jointed and laminated. Timber Fins measure 480mm deep by 65mm thick and are set into 30 bays within vertical stacks, with spans ranging from 3.5 up to 6.2 metres. Fixed horizontally at an angle of 5 degrees, the Timber Fins provide effective solar control to glazed areas and openings.
To ensure maximum structural integrity is maintained and to eliminate any risk of cold bridging through the external envelope, each stack of Fins is secured back to curtain walling mullions, using Levolux’s thermally broken Triniti® Bracket. In addition, stainless steel drop rods provide further support between Fins, allowing them to span up to 6.2 metres.

All timber supplied by Levolux for this project is FSC-certified, derived from sustainable sources, with a full chain of custody. Western Red Cedar is a lightweight, durable timber and to create a naturally impressive aesthetic it was left untreated. Over time the Fins will acquire an attractive, silver-grey patina.

The supporting structure, including support arms and brackets were finished in a light grey matt powder coating to complement the overall scheme.

M&S’s Sustainable Learning Stores incorporate energy-saving building technology, as demonstrated by the inclusion of Timber Fins at its Cheshire Oaks store and the illuminated Brise Soleil utilised at its Stratford City store, both of which were supplied and installed by Levolux.

For more information, visit