October 2016

pontprennau-primary-school1-200x200Following a £7 million investment, the new Pontprennau Primary School in Cardiff opened in September 2015, with a host of innovative features, including a colourful solar shading solution, courtesy of Levolux.

As the first English-medium primary school in the Pontprennau region to the north of Cardiff, it provides 14 classrooms, with a capacity of 420 pupils, aged between three and eleven.

pontprennau-primary-school2-200x200The BREEAM ‘excellent’ rated school, designed by Cardiff City Council, utilises the latest technology to create the optimum environmental conditions for teachers and pupils. The most obvious of these is the application of a brightly coloured, external solar shading solution.

The new Pontprennau Primary School occupies a prominent position on an elevated site, overlooking housing to the east and sports fields to the west. Floor to ceiling glazing has been used extensively on upper levels to maximise daylight levels.

pontprennau-primary-school3-200x200While the abundance of glazing is desirable, not only to boost daylight levels, but also for maintaining good outward visibility for occupants, it also increases the prospect of solar heat gain. If left un-checked, solar heat gain can become a significant problem, particularly during the summer, when internal temperatures can soar to uncomfortable levels.

To counter this risk and to satisfy BREEAM requirements, Levolux was invited to develop a custom solution based on its market-leading Infiniti® Fin system. The Infiniti Fin system was specified to create four Brise Soleil elements for the school’s façade, applied externally across east and west-facing glazed openings.

pontprennau-primary-school4-200x200Each element is formed from a series of aerofoil-shaped aluminium fins, each measuring 300mm wide by 62mm thick, arranged vertically. The fins are fixed at an angle of 90 degrees from the façade, at 330mm centres. This arrangement provides effective shading, countering the position of the sun as it rises in the east and sets in the west.

The inclusion of the Infiniti Fin solar shading solution into the scheme, also provided architects with the opportunity to create an interesting architectural feature. To achieve this, the vertical fins were finished in one of 9 vibrant colours, from bright green, to dazzling orange. This is somewhat reminiscent of the Lea Manor High School, which has a similar solar shading solution from Levolux, but with fins fixed horizontally.

pontprennau-primary-school5-200x200The bright colours given to the fins, along with the subtle dark grey colour of the aluminium carrier arms was applied as a highly durable polyester powder coating, with a smooth, satin finish.

Thanks to the unique design of the Infiniti Fin system, with concealed stainless steel fixings and integrated aluminium carrier arms, the vertical fins appear to float in front of the glazed openings, for a clean, uncompromised aesthetic.

The Pontprennau Primary School is already making a very positive impact on the local community, helping to satisfy an increasing demand for primary school places. Its unusual, elevated location and distinctive solar shading solution, make it a school like no other.