Friday, 24 January 2014

Levolux gets 'Creative' in Norwich

City College Norwich’s new £4.3 million Creative Arts Building provides the optimum environment for students to develop their talents, thanks in part to a Timber Fin Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

Designed by BDP to achieve a BREEAM excellent rating, the Creative Arts Building exploits Norfolk themes, with its twin glazed gable ends influenced by traditional timber barns and local churches. The building provides 2,700 m2 of highly functional teaching space dedicated to art and drama, arranged across 3 floors.

The large expanses of glazing in the twin glazed gable ends not only boost daylight levels in studios and teaching areas, but also create an impression of warmth and openness to approaching students and visitors.
Such a large area of glazing, albeit facing west, significantly increases the risks of excessive solar heat gain and glare levels, particularly in the afternoon. If not addressed with an effective form of solar control, these risks would otherwise result in an uncomfortable and less efficient building as cooling loads would become prohibitive during the summer.

As the UK’s leading solar shading and screening specialist, Levolux was invited by the architect to help develop a custom solution applied to two glazed, west-facing elevations.

The solution comprises two arrays of vertical Timber Fins, applied across the full height of the building. In total, 123 rectangular vertical Fins, each measuring 300mm deep by 50mm thick, are fixed at an angle of 90 degrees to the façade. This allows the Fins to shade the building as the sun passes from the south to the west, without compromising daylight levels.
Each Fin is divided vertically into several pieces separated by 250mm intervals. Two aluminium pins create a bridge between the Timber Fins, keeping them secure and aligned with those above or below. The vertical Fins scattered across the glazed facades create an interesting, rhythmic shading element.
Fins fitted to the southern of the two west-facing elevations are spaced at 350mm centres, as opposed to 700mm elsewhere. Here alternate Fins vary in height, from 3.7 metres up to 12.4 metres, while other Fins extend upward across the full height of the building. The contrasting distribution of Fins on each glazed elevation recognises the different shading requirements of each area, be it a dance studio or an art gallery
All Fins are engineered from Western Red Cedar timber, which is naturally attractive, structurally stable and highly durable. To complement the building’s black timber cladding, all Fins have been treated with a matt black wood stain.

All aluminium components used to attach the Fins together and secure them back to the façade are finished in an attractive matt black powder coating, neatly integrating with other façade elements.

The Creative Arts Building, with its vertical Timber Fins from Levolux, provides an energy efficient yet stylish learning resource, which effectively raises the profile of Creative Arts at City College Norwich, to rival almost any other college in the country.

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Monday, 6 January 2014

Levolux Excels in Exeter

The £28 million new Research Innovation Learning Development Centre (RILD) in Exeter is a world-leading medical facility, which pushes the boundaries of eco-friendly building design by combining renewable energy, heat recovery and a fixed external Solar Shading solution by Levolux.

The RILD Centre is a partnership between the University of Exeter Medical School and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. It encompasses the Wellcome Wolfson Medical Research Facility and a new Post Graduate Education Centre, provides more than 7,500m2 of highly functional space divided into laboratories, offices, meeting rooms, teaching rooms, lecture theatres and break-out areas.

Designed by award-winning Devereux Architects, the development, which is arranged over four floors, has achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating thanks to some innovative design features. Perhaps the most striking of these is the application of a custom external Solar Shading solution on east and west-facing facades.
An oval-shaped central structure accommodates the main entrance and circulation areas, with links to laboratories and ancillary areas to the north, along with offices and lecture theatres to the south. The curved façade of the central structure features floor to ceiling glazed curtain walling, to maximise daylight levels throughout the building.

As the UK’s leading solar shading specialist, Levolux was invited to develop a custom solution, based on its Infiniti® Fin system, to help control light, heat and glare levels, without compromising the thermal performance of the glazed envelope.

The solution comprised vertical, rectangular-shaped Fins fixed at varying angles around the east and west-facing elevations, arranged into 4 horizontal bands that stretch across the curved facade.
Each rectangular Fin, which is formed from extruded aluminium components, measures 750mm deep by 50mm thick. A section of the vertical Fins combine together on each façade, extending to more than 15 metres in height.
The angle of each Fin varies in relation to the curved facade to ensure the optimum level of shade. This helps to prevent excessive solar heat gain in summer and reduce glare levels in winter, while retaining good outward visibility for occupants.

All Fins are secured to the structure using Levolux’s thermally broken Triniti® curtain walling bracket, which is compatible with most curtain walling systems.
While some of Levolux’s competitors claim to offer a thermally broken curtain walling bracket, upon inspection it is evident that they only offer a partial break. Levolux’s Triniti bracket however, with its patented design, is the only uncompromised curtain walling bracket available with a fully isolated thermal break. This prevents cold bridging and problems associated with interstitial condensation.

All Fins, along with all other aluminium components, have been given an attractive matt stone grey satin powder coated finish. The rectangular Fins, like all systems installed by Levolux, are backed with the company’s design, manufacture and installation package.

By embracing new energy-efficient building technology, such as the external solar shading solution provided by Levolux, this centre of excellence creates the ideal environment for medical research to be taken to a new level. 

For more information, please visit