COOL TUBES IN GIBRALTAR June 2012
A new multi-storey car park in Devil’s Tower Road in Gibraltar is making a positive impression to residents and visitors, providing five floors of parking set behind an impressive array of Screening Louvres, courtesy of Levolux.
Gibraltar, a British overseas territory since 1713, is one of the most densely populated territories in the world, with 28,750 residents packed into a land mass of just 2.6 square miles. The local infrastructure becomes even more strained with the addition of more than 10 million visitors each year, drawn to its Subtropical Mediterranean climate, tax-free shopping and rich heritage.
With just 30 miles of roads, Gibraltar is renowned for its traffic congestion and lack of adequate parking for residents and visitors. The new Devil’s Tower Road car park, designed by BBlur architects, provides an impressive 1000 parking spaces, divided between 5 levels. While lower levels are allocated for short term and monthly rental, those on level five are offered ‘free of charge’ to local residents.
The car park’s south-facing elevation, which overlooks Devil’s Tower Road, extends to more than 150 metres, with a gradual curve that follows the road. The sheer scale of the project makes the car park a prominent landmark for local residents and visitors entering the territory.
The external facade of the south-facing elevation is designed to; allow air to circulate on each level, to limit the outward glare from vehicle headlights into neighbouring buildings, provide complimentary shading to vehicles and to create an attractive external aesthetic.
As a world-leading Louvre specialist, Levolux was approached to develop a custom screening solution which satisfies all these requirements.
The solution comprised more than 1300 extruded aluminium tubular Louvres, fixed horizontally and arranged into a series of 20 vertical stacks. Each vertical stack measures 7.5 metres wide by 16 metres high. The 100mm diameter Louvres are fixed at varying pitches between aluminium side-plates and each stack is facetted to allow the Louvres to negotiate the building’s curved exterior.
A series of oval aluminium handrails have also been incorporated at a height of 1 metre, running along the inside of the screening louvres on each level. These are anchored into each floor slab and are tied into the external screening louvres.
At the head of the Louvred facade, a return structure has been created, formed from three tubular louvres projecting 1.2 metres back into the structure at high level.
To maximise structural integrity, intermediate drop rods run vertically through the Louvres at 2.5 metre centres, formed from stainless steel threaded bar, enclosed within an aluminium over-tube. As a further fail-safe feature, a central slip-joint allows the full array of external tubular louvres to absorb any seismic activity that may occur.
To complete the screening louvre installation at low level, a 200mm deep by 500mm high aluminium section ‘Light Box’ accommodates integral LED lighting which filters through galvanised steel mesh, illuminating the walkway below.
The completed car park screening solution, with its attractive anodised finish, not only satisfies all the key requirements, but its robust aluminium construction also makes it resistant to the harsh coastal environment.
Now fully complete, the Devil’s Tower Road car park, which is owned and operated by Gibraltar Car Parks Limited, is helping to relieve traffic congestion, while its attractive screening Louvres from Levolux, ensure that it stands out for all the right reasons.