Thursday, 5 April 2012

Levolux fills its sails in Felixstowe

The headquarters building in Felixstowe created for China Shipping (UK) Agency and Johnson Stevens Agencies, one of the world’s largest shipping container companies, features Western Red Cedar Timber Fins from market leader Levolux, which protect office workers from solar heat gain.

The solution, which also includes a UK-first series of custom timber support columns, helps to cut energy costs whilst retaining all the benefits of natural daylight and external views out to the North Sea.

The steel-framed four storey building was designed by architects Colwyn Foulkes & Partners, and was built by main contractor ISG Jackson. The stunning maritime-themed office block houses 250 people - shared between China Shipping personnel and employees from Johnson Stevens Agencies.

Situated just outside the central port complex, the 1.7-acre site provides a total of 3,458 sq metres of accommodation. It comprises a large area of curtain walling with a façade made entirely of glass and copper cladding. As a central focal feature, the reception and entranceway have been designed and constructed in the shape of a circular drum.

A series of vertical and horizontal Timber Fins, and supporting columns, from Levolux were specified by Colwyn Foulkes & Partners. Manufactured in Western Red Cedar, the timber louvres were chosen for their ability to withstand the elements and sustainable properties - particularly due to the building’s North Sea-facing position - and to further enhance its glazed external envelope.

Horizontally stacked, aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins, measuring 300mm long by 50mm wide, were mounted on the building’s southern and eastern elevations at equidistant lengths, and fixed in place using aluminium side plates.

Bespoke one-piece tapered columns, also in Western Red Cedar and measuring 10m high, were specified to provide extra load-bearing strength. Six were installed on the south façade, and four to the east, to deliver additional support for the fins and roof structure. The unique columns, a first for Levolux, were included to complement the nautical theme of the building.

A series of vertically mounted Timber Fins were also erected on the curved entranceway feature, and reinforced with a secondary curved steelwork support system that secures the Fins to the main structure.
Senior partner Nick Colwyn-Foulkes said, “The key external materials were carefully chosen for their natural look which will also enhance with age, and will also compliment and respond to the existing natural environment. The columns have a ‘mast’ like appearance that takes reference to both the local maritime industry and specifically the nature of the end-users shipping business. It is very much hoped that the design confidence of the building reflects the importance of Felixstowe as a sea port and will act as a catalyst for the further regeneration of the area.”

The Levolux Solar Shading solution will minimise heat gain for office users by preventing solar rays from hitting the glass. The louvres create comfortable internal temperatures for office workers, as well as reducing energy costs of heating and air conditioning.

Like all systems from Levolux, the Timber Fins are backed with the company’s design, manufacture and installation package.

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