November 2014

The completion of a new multi-storey car park in Madeira Road, Bournemouth, which features a colourful external screening solution from Levolux, marks the start of a £40 million regeneration project for the area.

The 382-space car park, designed by Brightspace Architects, has become a high profile landmark for residents and visitors, since opening in March 2014.

Madeira Road Car Park PN2 200 x 200The development of a 70 foot tall car park forms part of Bournemouth Council’s Town Centre Vision to deliver regeneration improvements through the Bournemouth Development Company, the Council’s public-private partnership with Morgan Sindall Investments. The Madeira Road scheme included the construction of the multi-storey car park so that an adjacent council-owned surface car park could be converted into purpose-built student accommodation for the Arts University Bournemouth.

The seven-storey car park is highly visible, occupying a prominent site alongside the Wessex Way dual carriageway, in close proximity to Bournemouth’s town centre. As a result and as a condition of planning, the external façade required special treatment to soften the visual impact of the concrete structure on the environment.

Madeira Road Car Park PN3 200 x 200To deliver this element of the scheme, Levolux was invited to develop a custom screening solution that obscures views of unsightly structures and vehicles, while creating an attractive architectural feature.

The solution comprised Levolux’s unique Infiniti Fin system, incorporating 400mm wide aerofoil-shaped Fins, arranged vertically. The Fins were required in an assortment of lengths, fixed at contrasting angles and finished in a wide pallet of colours.

The application of the Fins across exposed elevations helps to break up the horizontal and vertical lines of the building. This is a technique often used to soften the visual impact of large structures, making them appear smaller and more sympathetic to their setting.

In the case of the Madeira Road car park, Fins extend across 1, 2 or 3 storeys, arranged in a random design, fixed at 800mm centres. In total, Fins are finished in one of ten different colours, from bright yellow to dark red and various shades in between.

Madeira Road Car Park PN4 200 x 200The Fins, which are fixed to horizontal extruded aluminium carrier members, are secured at either 45 or 90 degrees to vary the openness of the screen. On south-facing elevations, around the car park’s entrance, the Fins are closed to 45 degrees to screen views of core structures and vehicles. In contrast, on north-facing elevations the Fins are opened to 90 degrees, which helps to maximise daylight levels within the car park.

Levolux’s Infiniti Fin system features concealed, stainless steel fixings, and its unique configuration allows Fins of all shapes and sizes to appear continuous and seamless across a façade. Fins can also be cantilevered past the last support, making them appear to float in front of the façade.

All aluminium components, including the vertical Fins, end plates and horizontal carriers are precisely engineered and treated with a high quality powder coating, in a choice of colour taken from a wide range of RAL colours.

When the Madeira Road site was released for development by Bournemouth Borough Council, some residents may have been anxious about the prospect of another grey and uninspiring multi-storey car park. Thanks to the vibrant use of colour in the Screening Solution, supplied and installed by Levolux, any such anxieties may well have been replaced by pride.