CHANGING GEAR IN SWINDON November 2013
A new state-of-the-art, multi-storey car park is about to open in the centre of Swindon, boasting a revolutionary terracotta screening solution from Levolux.
The 850 space multi-storey car park is one of several new buildings to be completed as part of the first phase of the ‘Kimmerfields’ project, a £350 million regeneration scheme that will revive Swindon’s central business district.
Breaking with convention, Robin Partington Architects designed the 7-storey car park not only to facilitate safe and convenient access for vehicles and pedestrians, but also to equip it with an attractive, yet highly efficient external envelope.
Levolux was approached, as the UK’s leading solar shading and screening specialist, to develop a custom screening solution for the car park. The solution comprises vertical aluminium and terracotta fins, arranged differently on each elevation to satisfy specific performance criteria.
The vertical Fins help to protect the core structure from excessive weathering, while providing shade to occupants and their vehicles. From the outside, the contrasting warm terracotta and cool aluminium vertical Fins create a unique aesthetic, setting it apart from other car parks.
Levolux adapted its popular Infiniti Fin system to integrate vertical extruded aluminium Fins with red terracotta Fins, applied across all four elevations. In total, Levolux supplied almost 5800 linear metres of terracotta Fin and more than 3000 linear metres of aluminium Fins.
Vertical aluminium Fins, set at 1.25 metre centres are fitted with bespoke wishbone brackets at 3 metre intervals, aligned with each floor level. The brackets feature two support arms, radiating out from each side of the aluminium Fin, which are attached to vertical terracotta Fins.
On the south-facing elevation the aluminium Fin is rectangular, measuring 100mm deep by 500mm wide. Two terracotta Fins, each measuring 100mm deep by 425mm wide are fixed alongside the aluminium Fin, using custom wishbone brackets. The alignment of the Fins ensures they deliver optimum shading while creating a clean, undulating façade.
On other elevations the aluminium Fin is bullet-shaped, measuring 100mm deep by 300mm wide. Two terracotta Fins, each measuring 100mm deep by 300mm wide are fixed at an angle, each side of the aluminium Fin using custom wishbone brackets. The open angle of the terracotta Fins allows more daylight to penetrate the car park in these areas.
To complement the array of alternating aluminium and terracotta Fins, Levolux fitted its bullet-shaped vertical aluminium Fins, each measuring 300mm deep by 100mm wide, across glazed stairwells and around access ramps.
The installation was completed with the addition of two perforated aluminium screening panels, fitted to the east and west elevations. Each panel extends 18 metres from ground floor level up to roof level. A 4.2 metre wide panel, comprised of 24 individual sheets has been applied to the east elevation, while a 1.5 metre wide panel, comprised of 12 individual sheets has been applied to the west elevation.
All aluminium components have been given a durable, natural anodised finish, with galvanised steel brackets. To prevent unwanted ingress of birds through openings, a stainless steel rope mesh has been incorporated behind the vertical Fins.
This impressive car park screening solution from Levolux, which follows similar schemes in London, High Wycombe, Liverpool and Gibraltar, demonstrates a shift in car park design to replace the concrete carbuncles of the past, with public amenities that we can be proud of in the future.