Friday, 5 December 2014

Levolux makes the grade in Stamford

Following a comprehensive refurbishment project, the old gym building at Stamford School in Lincolnshire has been transformed into an ultra modern Performing Arts Centre, with an external Timber Fin screening solution from Levolux.

The school, which was founded in 1532 and is now part of Stamford Endowed Schools – a group of three schools for boys and girls aged from 2-18 - can now offer pupils greatly enhanced spaces for performance, rehearsal and teaching.

Designed by GSS Architecture, the new Performing Arts Centre boasts a re-configured interior and a complementary exterior that reflects the building’s new identity as a facility that is dedicated to music and drama. To satisfy the client’s demanding requirements Levolux was invited to develop a custom external Timber Fin screening solution.
The solution comprises 478 rectangular shaped Timber Fins, fixed vertically to three elevations of the three-storey building. The vertical Fins are set at 236mm centres, extending to screen an area measuring almost 60 metres in length and up to 6.6 metres in height. Each Timber Fin, which measures 285mm deep by 44mm thick, is engineered from untreated Western Red Cedar.

Supplied from an FSC certified source, Western Red Cedar is a particularly popular material for external cladding as it is rot resistant and when left untreated over time it weathers to an attractive silver grey patina.

The Fins are secured back to the restored façade using a series of horizontal aluminium carriers. To prevent birds from perching and nesting between the Timber Fins, they are backed with expanded aluminium mesh panels. The diagonal lines of the mesh also create a contrasting aesthetic which complements the vertical Fins.
In addition, on two elevations at high level, the screening solution has been carefully cut back to create recesses for large circular signs. The signs feature a reproduction of the school’s distinctive crest, depicting a stork with outstretched wings above the school’s motto “Christ me Spede”.
Now refurbished, the school’s old gym building - which has since been superseded by a new sports centre and swimming pool - has been completely transformed. In its place stands the new Performing Arts Centre which becomes the school’s hub for music and drama. The dramatic change is perhaps most striking on the building’s exterior, thanks in part to the impressive Timber Fin screening solution from Levolux.

For more information, please visit

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Levolux brightens up Bournemouth

The completion of a new multi-storey car park in Madeira Road, Bournemouth, which features a colourful external screening solution from Levolux, marks the start of a £40 million regeneration project for the area.

The 382-space car park, designed by Brightspace Architects, has become a high profile landmark for residents and visitors, since opening in March 2014.

The development of a 70 foot tall car park forms part of Bournemouth Council’s Town Centre Vision to deliver regeneration improvements through the Bournemouth Development Company, the Council’s public-private partnership with Morgan Sindall Investments. The Madeira Road scheme included the construction of the multi-storey car park so that an adjacent council-owned surface car park could be converted into purpose-built student accommodation for the Arts University Bournemouth.

The seven-storey car park is highly visible, occupying a prominent site alongside the Wessex Way dual carriageway, in close proximity to Bournemouth’s town centre. As a result and as a condition of planning, the external façade required special treatment to soften the visual impact of the concrete structure on the environment.
To deliver this element of the scheme, Levolux was invited to develop a custom screening solution that obscures views of unsightly structures and vehicles, while creating an attractive architectural feature.

The solution comprised Levolux’s unique Infiniti Fin system, incorporating 400mm wide aerofoil-shaped Fins, arranged vertically. The Fins were required in an assortment of lengths, fixed at contrasting angles and finished in a wide pallet of colours.

The application of the Fins across exposed elevations helps to break up the horizontal and vertical lines of the building. This is a technique often used to soften the visual impact of large structures, making them appear smaller and more sympathetic to their setting.
In the case of the Madeira Road car park, Fins extend across 1, 2 or 3 storeys, arranged in a random design, fixed at 800mm centres. In total, Fins are finished in one of ten different colours, from bright yellow to dark red and various shades in between.
The Fins, which are fixed to horizontal extruded aluminium carrier members, are secured at either 45 or 90 degrees to vary the openness of the screen. On south-facing elevations, around the car park’s entrance, the Fins are closed to 45 degrees to screen views of core structures and vehicles. In contrast, on north-facing elevations the Fins are opened to 90 degrees, which helps to maximise daylight levels within the car park.

Levolux’s Infiniti Fin system features concealed, stainless steel fixings, and its unique configuration allows Fins of all shapes and sizes to appear continuous and seamless across a façade. Fins can also be cantilevered past the last support, making them appear to float in front of the façade.
All aluminium components, including the vertical Fins, end plates and horizontal carriers are precisely engineered and treated with a high quality powder coating, in a choice of colour taken from a wide range of RAL colours.

When the Madeira Road site was released for development by Bournemouth Borough Council, some residents may have been anxious about the prospect of another grey and uninspiring multi-storey car park. Thanks to the vibrant use of colour in the Screening Solution, supplied and installed by Levolux, any such anxieties may well have been replaced by pride.

For more information, please visit

Friday, 10 October 2014

Levolux gets stuck in for Henkel

A new 36,000 sq foot office development for Henkel, a global leader in brands and technologies, is bringing together its UK workforce in Hemel Hempstead, into a more comfortable, energy efficient building, which is equipped with an external Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

Completed in August 2014, the three storey building will accommodate more than 200 employees, providing flexible working spaces, conference areas and a restaurant.  The building comprises three interconnected blocks, with the main entrance located in the centre.

Designed by Cornish Architects, the building employs a number of energy efficient technologies to maintain a comfortable environment for occupants. Perhaps most striking of these technologies is an external solar shading solution applied to south-facing elevations.
The solution comprised a combination of 400mm and 300mm wide Aerofoil Fins, engineered from extruded aluminium. All Fins are secured to an external steel frame which extends vertically across south-facing elevations and horizontally to form a canopy above the main entrance at roof level.

A total of 66 Aerofoil Fins, each measuring 400mm wide by 105mm thick, have been applied in vertical stacks across 12 bays, each comprising 5 Fins.  The Fins are individually fixed back to steelwork using structural end caps, allowing them to free span 7.2 metres.

Set at an angle of 30 degrees and at a pitch of 400mm, these Fins provide optimum shade to the building’s south-facing elevations. This helps to prevent excessive solar heat gain, while maximising daylight levels for occupants.
In contrast, 33 Aerofoil Fins, each measuring 300mm wide by 56mm thick, have been distributed equally across three bays to form a horizontal shading canopy, located centrally at roof level. These Fins, with free spans of up to 4 metres, are secured to a steel frame measuring 6 metres deep and almost 12 metres wide. The Fins are fixed at an angle of 45 degrees to provide effective solar control for the central glazed elevation, which accommodates the building’s main entrance.

The steel support frame, which comprises circular hollow section posts and beams, was engineered by Levolux to accommodate the Fins at their optimum spans. This created an uncompromised solution which delivers the desired level of shading, with a clean, contemporary appearance.
All steelwork and aluminium components are treated with a durable, light grey powder coating for long lasting good looks.

Henkel, which operates worldwide with leading brands including Sellotape, Pritt, Loctite, Schwarzkopf and Right Guard aspires to a “One Henkel” concept. This is reflected by its investment in a new UK headquarters building, with its cool Aerofoil Fins from Levolux. This state-of-the-art development will empower its employees to work better together under one roof.

For more information, please visit

Friday, 19 September 2014

Levolux hangs out in Highams Park

An 11.2 acre mixed-use development at Highams Park in north-east London, now boasts a collection of contemporary apartments and terraced houses, all fitted with custom sliding Timber Screening Panels, courtesy of Levolux.

Following a phased construction programme, the ambitious regeneration project, which is anchored by a 60,000 sq ft Tesco superstore, has now reached completion.

Timber Fins applied to Tesco store in 2012

Continuing its work on the project alongside ColladoCollins Architects, under instruction from Spenhill (a wholly owned regeneration subsidiary of Tesco), Levolux turned its attention to a series of sliding Timber Screening Panels required for two five-storey apartment blocks.

Levolux engineered the sliding Screening Panels from Western Red Cedar timber, complementing the Timber Fins it installed across the Tesco superstore’s entrance and on several other residential buildings that were completed in 2012.

Timber Fins applied to apartments in 2012

The sliding Timber Screening Panels are fitted externally and perform three very useful functions for residents. Principally they create an effective and attractive privacy screen, by obscuring views into each apartment. In addition, they also allow variable shading of glazed openings to control solar heat gain and help to maximise daylight levels throughout each apartment.

In total, Levolux delivered 40 sliding Timber Screening Panels divided equally between two apartment blocks, with four panels arranged per floor, across five floors. Each panel is positioned in front of full height glazing and measures 2.5 metres high, with widths of up to 1.5 metres.

Panels are suspended from a concealed track, which allows them to be easily slid open or closed by hand. A bottom guide ensures each panel remains stable and secure.

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

The five storey apartment blocks combine with other residential units on the site, to create the first ‘home zone’ within the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The properties are all designed with energy-saving, high specification features, such as the sliding Timber Screening Panels from Levolux, to deliver highly popular and much needed private and social housing in a rapidly transforming area of north east London. 

For more information, please visit

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Levolux catches the eye in Manchester

The Former Royal Eye Hospital in Manchester has been dramatically transformed into a new biomedical centre of excellence, with a decorative, bright red perforated screening and solar shading solution, courtesy of Levolux.

A grade II listed, red brick building, which dates back to 1886, has been given an ultra-modern extension, creating a 94,000 sq ft biomedical facility, incorporating state-of-the-art laboratories, offices, teaching space and retail accommodation.

Located on Oxford Road in central Manchester, the flagship redevelopment, known as ‘Citylabs’ is accommodated within Europe’s largest clinical and academic campus, which is shared by Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester.
Designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating by architects Sheppard Robson, the five-storey extended building effectively mixes old with new, by preserving an original red brick frontage and linking this to a contrasting, contemporary structure.

Levolux worked collaboratively with the architect and the client to design a custom external screening solution that not only shades the building’s glazed openings, but also creates a bold visual statement.

The solution comprises perforated, extruded aluminium screening panels, set against a series of integrated walkways, all secured back to the curtain walling system using Levolux’s Triniti Bracket. Levolux also installed its 950 XL Screening Louvres around two roof plant areas.

All four elevations of the extended building have been covered by a ‘veil’ of bright red extruded aluminium screening panels, featuring laser cut rectangular perforations. The perforated panels fit between ‘T’ section extruded aluminium supports and extend to cover an area of almost 1600m2.
Individual panels measure 1.8 or 1.2 metres wide by either 4.2 or 1.8 metres in height, with a repeating pattern of perforations. The perforated screen is interrupted occasionally by openings, each measuring 1.2 metres in width and 2.4 metres in height. The openings are positioned to maximise daylight levels and allow clear, unobstructed outward views onto the streets below.

Immediately behind the perforated screening panels on each elevation, are four levels of mesh walkway, with a depth of 740mm. The walkways provide shade to the lower four floors on exposed elevations, while also facilitating easy access to the façade for cleaning and maintenance. Integrated aluminium handrails have been incorporated on each level for increased safety and security.

Levolux incorporated its revolutionary Triniti bracket into the scheme to anchor the perforated aluminium panels and mesh walkways to the structure without compromising the thermal performance of the building envelope.
 The thermally broken bracket, which was tested by the Centre for Window and Cladding Technology (CWCT), has an unrivalled thermal transmittance rating of just 0.135W/K, compared with 0.416W/K for a standard bracket without a thermal break.

Levolux also supplied and installed its 950 XL Screening Louvres, featuring an attractive ‘Z’ profile, to create a visual screen around the perimeter of two roof plant areas.

The louvres, which are set at a pitch of 140mm, are used to conceal unsightly plant and equipment from view. They combine to create a highly ventilated façade, with a total area of more than 650m2 and a maximum height of 4 metres. Access to plant areas is achieved through a series of single and double louvred doors, which blend in seamlessly with the louvred façade.

The Screening Louvres are finished in a durable blue/grey powder coating, while the perforated aluminium screening panels have been given a bright red anodized finish, giving the building its striking appearance. At night the building is perhaps even more distinctive, as lights from within illuminate the perforated screening panels.

Now complete, the ‘Citylabs’ development is making a positive impression at the heart of ‘Corridor Manchester’, the city’s knowledge quarter. It is already attracting world-leading biotech and medtech companies, thanks in part to its external screening and solar shading solution from Levolux.

For more information, please visit
Images courtesy of Neal Allen-Burt at architects Sheppard Robson.