Monday, 17 December 2012

Levolux sheds light on new technology

When Diamond Light Source opened in 2007, it impressed the scientific community, with its potential for advancing scientific research, and the architectural community, with its revolutionary Solar Shading solution, developed by Levolux.

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in South Oxfordshire. The facility is used to produce very intense beams of x-rays, infrared and ultraviolet light, which enable scientists to study very small objects like molecules and atoms.

The impressive ‘doughnut’ shaped building, which was designed by Jacobs Architecture, represents the largest UK scientific investment for more than 45 years, occupying an area of around 45,000m2.
To ensure the building operates efficiently and to maintain optimum conditions for scientists to conduct their studies, Levolux was approached to develop a bespoke external Solar Shading solution.

The solution comprised rows of fabricated aluminium Louvres, fixed to curved supports with an innovative, integrated walk-on platform. The structure provides shade for the 2-storey building while creating a curved outer envelope which gives the building its distinctive ‘doughnut’ shape.
Fabricated aluminium Louvres vary in number, size and pitch around the circumference of the building, providing 235 metres of coverage. Depending on the size and orientation of glazed openings, Levolux applied its 600mm, 450mm or 75mm wide Louvres to ensure solar heat gain is minimised, while allowing natural daylight to penetrate deep into the building. 

As an alternative to single-piece extruded aluminium Louvres, Fabricated Fins allow for a perforated finish to be added, which softens the external aesthetic, maximises daylight levels and reduces the overall weight of the structure. 
Above the ground floor is a series of integral walkways, set behind the larger Louvres. Comprising ‘J’ tread elements the walkways not only contribute to shading performance, but also enable safe and convenient access to the exterior of the building for regular cleaning and maintenance.

Crispin Wride, Design Director at Jacobs Architecture was impressed with the results, commenting: “We worked closely with Levolux to develop a simple pragmatic system that provides solar protection for the naturally ventilated perimeter offices and laboratories, and access for cleaning and maintenance, whilst creating the dramatic external form.” 

Since it opened in 2007, scientists based at the Diamond Light Source have used the facility to help progress environmental, physical and life sciences. Equipped with a comprehensive Solar Shading solution, courtesy of Levolux, the facility boasts optimised environmental conditions that will support more progress in the years ahead. 

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