Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Levolux scales new heights in Chiswick

The addition of Building 6 to Chiswick Park reinforces its status as one of the most sustainable business parks in the UK, if not the world, showcasing the latest innovations in solar shading from Levolux.

As the eleventh of twelve buildings to be constructed at Chiswick Park, Building 6 is possibly the most ambitious yet undertaken by the Blackstone Group. Designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating by acclaimed architects at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Building 6, like other buildings on the park, employs cutting-edge technology to maintain optimum comfort levels, while reducing energy consumption.

Building 6 is the largest to be completed at Chiswick Park, offering 215,000 sq ft of high quality office space, arranged over nine floors. Continuing a theme that started when the park was conceived back in 1999, Building 6 employs a distinctive, integrated solar control system to regulate and control internal temperatures.
Chiswick Park Building 5
Levolux was invited to develop a custom solar shading solution, as it has done previously at the park, most notably on Building 5. Renowned for its progressive and uncompromising approach to solar control, Levolux worked closely with the architect to devise a custom solution for Building 6.

The comprehensive solution comprises external motorised ‘super louvres’, which are linked to an intelligent control system, and a range of internal Venetian and Roller Blinds.

The term ‘super louvres’ was first coined following the conception of over-sized louvres by Levolux in 2005, for inclusion on Chiswick Park’s Building 5. As a prominent feature on the building, the ‘super louvres’, which included 700mm wide single-piece extruded aluminium louvres, form part of an integrated solar shading solution, which has proven to be extremely effective. Today, the ‘super louvres’ are recognised as one of the most distinguishing features at Chiswick Park.
Single piece 700mm wide extruded aluminium louvres
The solar shading solution applied to Building 6 incorporates the largest horizontal Fins Levolux has ever produced. In total, Levolux fitted 361 Fabricated Fins, each measuring an impressive 1.2 metres in width, applied across three elevations. The ‘wing’ shaped Fins have an attractive perforated aluminium skin and are capable of free spanning up to 9 metres.

The support system used for the Fins utilises a unique configuration of concrete encased steel columns at low level, cast aluminium column bases, extruded aluminium columns and stainless steel bracing members. The entire louvre assembly is tied back to the façade using ‘v’ shaped brackets, set at alternate floor levels. This allows the structure to be lightweight, efficient and visually unobtrusive.
To optimise the solar shading solution, Levolux linked the Fins to a series of motors and an intelligent control system. Fins on each elevation can be rotated simultaneously as a group, from a fully open or horizontal position in dull conditions, through an angle of 60 degrees, to a closed position in bright conditions.

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC’s) take into account the position and intensity of the sun as it passes overhead as well as monitoring external light levels and wind speeds on the roof. This ensures the Fins are automatically and precisely manoeuvred into the optimum position, without disturbing occupants.
At ground floor level, Levolux installed its external I-Blade Walkway system on three elevations, above an undercroft car park. The 1.2 metre wide walkway comprises 31 panels, divided into four sections which allow access to the façade at ground floor level. The open structure of the I-Blade walkway aids natural ventilation of the building at low level.

Throughout the building, Levolux fitted 623 manually operated Venetian Blinds, featuring 80mm wide, solid roll-formed slats. Blinds can be raised, lowered or tilted locally to satisfy light and glare control requirements.
80mm wide Venetian Blinds
To complete the solution, Levolux installed 12 of its 780 motorised Roller Blinds at high level on the ground floor, within the Reception area. The Blinds, which can be raised or lowered at the click of a switch, feature a custom head box and cover plate. The inclusion of 2mm guide wires helps to keep the 2.9 metre wide fabric ripple-free and perfectly aligned. A cool, grey fabric, with an openness factor of 5%, allows excellent control of glare levels while allowing daylight to filter through.

All extruded aluminium Fins and walkway components are finished in an attractive silver anodised finish, while supporting components have been given a durable metallic silver polyester powder coating.

All Levolux systems, whether they be motorised ‘Super Louvres’ or Roller Blinds, are backed with the company’s design, manufacture and installation package. The company’s experience in bespoke Solar Shading is second to none worldwide.
Chiswick Park provides 1.5 million sq feet of office space, accommodating more than 6,000 employees, from leading international organisations. The radical design of Building 6, equipped with a comprehensive solar shading solution from Levolux, provides workers with a cool, comfortable environment in which they really can “enjoy work”.

For more information, please visit

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Levolux raises the roof in Victoria

Occupying a prestigious address in central London, 62 Buckingham Gate is a landmark office development which resembles a jewel, with its tilting, prism-like glass façade, topped by a state-of-the-art Roof Screening solution, courtesy of Levolux.

62 Buckingham Gate is central to Land Securities’ regeneration of Victoria, which will transform an area stretching east from Victoria Station, along Victoria Street. It is an eleven storey mixed-use development, offering 256,970 sq ft of prime office space, with 15,250 sq ft reserved for street level shops and restaurants.

The BREEAM ‘excellent’ rated development, conceived by Pelli Clarke Pelli and Swanke Hayden Connell architects, is surprisingly spacious yet sympathetic to the environment and considerate to its neighbours. This is perhaps best demonstrated by focussing on its roof, which performs a number of important functions.

As the UK’s leading screening and solar shading specialist, Levolux was invited to help develop the custom screening solution to satisfy the client’s challenging brief and planning requirements. The solution comprised the integration of  Aerofoil Fins, Ventilation Louvres and PV integrated glass panels, all applied at roof level.
Unusually, the roof comprises four interconnecting, angled elements, continuing a carefully fragmented aesthetic that extends up the building and across its roof. As the building is overlooked from above and on all sides, it was important to screen unsightly roof plant and equipment from view.

Most of the plant and equipment on the roof, such as chillers and air handling units, is confined to two areas, in the east and west. These items are concealed from view beneath a highly ventilated enclosure, comprising Levolux’s Aerofoil Fins and Ventilation Louvres.

More than 400 extruded aluminium Aerofoil Fins have been incorporated into almost 100 panels, which combine to form two large screening canopies. The Fins, each measuring 400mm deep by 77mm thick, are aligned vertically, with a maximum spanning capability of 5.6 metres.
Under cover of the Fins, plant and equipment receives optimum ventilation, allowing it to operate efficiently all year-round. This has been achieved by fixing the Fins at 450mm centres and angling them at 90 degrees to the horizontal.

Levolux used its Infiniti® Fin system to incorporate 64 ‘acoustic’ Fins, each with the same size and profile as others, but with a perforated portion, containing an acoustic infill material. These are concentrated in an area to help control noise transmission.

Elsewhere, running around the perimeter of the roof enclosure, is a continuous ventilated façade featuring Levolux’s Ventilation Louvres. Contour Ventilation Louvres, formed from extruded aluminium with a sleek “S” profile, are fixed horizontally, set at a pitch of 100mm. The Louvres are angled to give them a 65% free area, which delivers optimum airflow and weather-ability.
The height of the louvred façade varies as it follows the undulating roof canopy, from just 1.9 metres, rising to 6.1 metres. Six integrated louvred doors provide easy means of access to the plant areas for service and maintenance.

In addition, to support and encourage local wildlife, a series of Sparrow nesting boxes and bat tubes were integrated into the Ventilation Louvres.

The final component of Levolux’s solution, and perhaps the most impressive, is the supply and installation of PV (photovoltaic) integrated glass panels. A triangular, south-facing area on the roof is reserved entirely for generating renewable energy from PV integrated glass panels. The fixed installation of glass panels, embedded with polycrystalline photovoltaic cells, is divided into two independent arrays.
The combined arrays of PV modules were specified to generate an output of 27.8MWh (mega watt hours), of electricity per year to be used within the building itself, upon demand.

Each array of PV modules is linked to an inverter and is monitored by the Building Management System (BMS). The entire PV system is fully automatic and virtually maintenance-free, with no moving parts.

The PV integrated glass panels are secured to an area of the roof which is inclined at an angle of 9.5 degrees. Triangular-shaped ‘dummy’ glass panels have been added to fill awkward gaps along the outer edge, completing the installation and delivering a cohesive appearance.

For long lasting good looks, all Aerofoil Fins have been given a cool satin silver anodised finish and all other aluminium components, such as the Ventilation Louvres and aluminium copings, feature a metallic silver powder coated finish.
62 Buckingham Gate represents a new generation of city centre office development, which is energy efficient, attractive and above all, considerate to the environment and its neighbours. The Levolux roof screening solution displayed on this building sets an example for others to follow.

For more information, please visit

Friday, 5 July 2013

Levolux applies cool science

For the worldwide headquarters of a leading global software company, modern design was of paramount importance. Clean lines of a structural glass façade overlooking an adjacent lake provided an attractive, refreshing outlook, while a solar shading solution from Levolux provided the control of light, glare and solar heat gain.

Designed by Michael Aukett Architects, the two storey headquarters for TTPCom, a world leading software development company based in Hertfordshire, would need to maximise outward views across a lake whilst maintaining a light, airy and modern working environment. A full-height glass façade would deliver the spectacular views, but this alone would increase the risk of excessive solar heat gain, particularly in the summer.

To provide employees with protection from solar heat gain whilst retaining uninterrupted views over the landscaped grounds and lake, a solution that would control the elements without impairing the view was required.

Levolux's Aerofoil Fins provided the control required, reducing the need for air conditioning, whilst enhancing the architectural appearance of the building. The company also demonstrated that it could design a series of manual and motorised internal roller blinds to further control light, glare and privacy within the building.
To provide a seamless integration with the main structure of the building, Levolux worked closely with the architects and main contractor ISG, to develop a special curved front nosing for the supporting arms and structure of the solar shading canopy which runs the entire length of the south side of the building.

The 300mm wide Aerofoil Fins, each formed from a single-piece extruded aluminium section, were then mounted into the support structure. The completed array of horizontal Fins blends into the building, creating a canopy that reduces the glare from the sun and significantly reduces solar heat gain within the building. Most importantly, the view of the lake has not been impaired in any way.
Internally, Levolux manufactured and installed motorised Roller Blinds for the south-facing glass façade and manual Roller Binds for the remaining internal and external windows, allowing occupants to control light and glare levels, and satisfying privacy requirements when required.

The company also provided its VLS Ventilation Louvres, which feature an attractive 'S' profile and hidden fixings, creating a continuous, uninterrupted facade which surrounds two roof based plant areas.
Virtually maintenance free, the application of fixed Aerofoil Fins is equally effective on new build and refurbishment projects, adding a fresh dimension to a building’s character and providing vital control of light, glare and solar heat gain. In addition to single-piece Fins which can be fixed, or operable, with the option of fully automated controls, Levolux also offers its Infiniti Fin system, which creates continuous, uninterrupted lines of Fins. 
Like all systems from Levolux, the Aerofoil Fins and the internal Roller Blinds are backed with the company’s design, manufacture and installation package and can be produced in a variety of materials and finishes to co-ordinate with the overall architectural design of any building.

For more information, please visit