Levolux achieves gold at Birmingham University

The new Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (CTL) at Birmingham University’s Edgbaston campus, is said to be turning heads thanks to its gold-coloured solar shading solution from Levolux.

Following a £40 million investment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) facilities, the university now has a new building, designed by Sheppard Robson architects. The three-storey building, which achieved a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating, is dedicated to improving collaborative teaching, with a wet lab, a dry lab and an e-lab.

Levolux was invited to design, manufacture and install brise soleil for the building’s south and east-facing elevations. The custom solution comprises a collection of angled, aluminium fins that extend across ground and first-floor levels, surrounding the main entrance.

Each fin is 125mm thick and has a rectangular-shaped profile. A 200mm wide fin is used at ground floor level and where the fins return along east and west-facing sections. In contrast, a larger 600mm wide fin has been used on the south-facing elevation at first floor level. The deeper fins extend across a first-floor glazed projection that steps out by up to 5m from the bricked façade.

Formed from extruded aluminium components, the fins were pre-assembled at Levolux’s premises and shipped to site in a variety of lengths, ranging from 3.3m to 5.6m. First fix brackets were already installed to integrate seamlessly into the curtain walling. These allowed the installation of the fins, which are inclined at 75 from vertical and set at a pitch of 1.4m.

For optimum performance, Levolux’s Triniti curtain walling bracket was specified for this project. Its design features a thermal break, which is said to minimise cold bridging and prevents interstitial condensation from forming. The revolutionary bracket also delivers effective noise and vibration isolation.

The complete Levolux solar shading solution enhances the building’s façade, not only by reducing the building’s cooling load and minimising heat-loss, but also by creating an impressive architectural feature. Finished in a gold anodised finish, the angled fins give the new building a distinctive appearance that draws admiring glances from visitors to the campus.

The CTL building, with its gold fins, has transformed the heart of the university’s Edgbaston campus and its innovative facilities will dramatically improve the way Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects are taught.

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