Friday, 25 January 2013

Levolux puts Lowry in the shade

Established for more than 12 years, the Lowry at Salford Quays in Salford is renowned as a world-leading Arts Venue with a distinctive, state-of-the-art Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

Its angular exterior, which is clad with cool glass and a stainless steel skin, gives the Lowry building a ship-like appearance which dominates Salford’s skyline. The development is arranged over multiple levels, with two theatres and a studio dedicated to performing arts and a museum displaying the works of LS Lowry.
Image courtesy of webbaviation
The Lowry building, which was designed by Michael Wilford and Partners, occupies a triangular shaped plot at the end of Pier 8, overlooking Salford Quays. Its opposing north-west and south-west facing elevations feature large expanses of double-height glazing which presented a particular challenge when it came to finding an effective Solar Shading solution.

Levolux was approached to devise a radical solution comprising their popular aerofoil-shaped Fins, a motorised Skyvane system and internal Roller Blinds. 

500mm deep extruded aluminium Fins are fixed horizontally along the south-west facing elevation, above a split level promenade that runs around the building. Here the Fins are angled at 90 degrees to provide the optimum sun cut-off angle in the summer. At these times, most of the heat from the sun’s rays is reflected and absorbed externally by the Fins, protecting the building against excessive solar heat gain.
On the north-west facing elevation 500mm deep aerofoil-shaped Fins are fixed vertically across double height glazing. Here the Fins are angled at 90 degrees to provide protection from excessive solar heat gain and glare levels caused by the low afternoon sun.  

The Fins are a critical element of the scheme as they help to improve the energy efficiency of the building by maintaining a comfortable, cool and naturally lit interior, while complementing the building’s overall appearance.
The Lowry building also features a series of 18 roof lights, which feed daylight deep into the galleries and circulation areas below. The priceless collection of LS Lowry paintings on display are preserved in ideal environmental conditions thanks to the application of Levolux’s motorised Skyvane system across each rooflight.

Fitted internally, the motorised Skyvane system features interlocking 75mm wide aluminium slats, which enable it to close out around 97% of daylight at the click of a switch.
In the same area, nine high level glazed openings, each with six windows measuring 2 metres in width, also required screening. To achieve optimum light control each window was fitted with a vertical aluminium louvre blind, a roller blind with sunscreening fabric to allow 8-10% light transmission and a blackout blind.
As a result, 162 blinds were installed all of which are motorised and have automatic as well as radio control. An infra-red control was ruled out because of the distances involved.

The comprehensive Solar Shading solution employed at the Lowry building works effectively, yet it is engineered with a meticulous attention to detail to satisfy a very challenging aesthetic requirement. 

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