July 2017

The £65 million Spire Manchester Hospital, located in Didsbury, is a new flagship hospital which is equipped with cutting-edge building technology, including a Levolux solar shading and screening solution.

The new hospital, which was designed by Halliday Meecham Architects, occupies a prominent position, sandwiched between Siemens Road to the east, Barlow Moor Road to the south and Princess Road to the west. Arranged across four floors, the hospital incorporates some of the most up-to-date medical facilities available, including an endoscopy unit, six operating theatres and a conference suite.

A key consideration for the design team was the sustainability of the scheme. It was important to minimise energy consumption and the CO2 emissions generated by the building. This led to the inclusion of high performance glazing, photovoltaic panels and a solar shading solution.

As a world-leading solar shading and screening specialist, Levolux was invited to develop a custom solution for the Spire Manchester Hospital. The solar shading solution comprises a combination of horizontal and vertical Timber Fins and the Infiniti Fin system, applied externally on the outer elevations and within the building’s courtyard area.

Timber Fins, engineered from Western Red Cedar, have been used on the project with variations in size, profile and orientation. This type of timber is highly recommended for external applications as the timber is relatively stable and gives a clean and consistent appearance.

Aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins have been supplied in two sizes. A smaller fin measuring 230mm wide by 40mm thick has been incorporated into a series of vertical stacks on south and east-facing elevations. The vertically stacked, horizontal Fins are set at a pitch of 198mm.

Two larger sections of the horizontal Fins are fitted to south and east-facing elevations, with integrated walkways and handrails. A custom, extruded aluminium mullion extends vertically across each floor, providing a suitable fixing point for the Fins. The inclusion of walkways and handrails allows easy access to the recessed glazed façade, for routine cleaning and maintenance.

Around a curved, west-facing elevation at first and second floor levels, larger aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins have been fitted vertically. The vertical Fins, each measuring 290mm wide by 69mm thick, create an effective shading structure that shields glazed areas from the sun as it passes across the building. The array of vertical Fins extends 8 metres in height and continues almost 90 metres in length, following the curved, glazed façade.

Smaller, rectangular-shaped Timber Fins are also fitted vertically to the north-facing elevation. Here the Timber Fins, each measuring 90mm wide by 40mm thick, are used for aesthetic purposes, complementing the overall scheme.

A central, enclosed courtyard area also required solar shading at high level on its south-facing elevation. Here, Levolux utilised its Infiniti® Fin system to form an array of horizontal, aerofoil-shaped Fins formed from extruded aluminium. 19 rows of vertically stacked Fins, each measuring 250mm wide, combine to create a shading structure measuring 6.5 metres in height and almost 16 metres in width.

The Timber Fins and the Infiniti Fin system are secured back to a unitised curtain walling system using Levolux’s thermally broken Triniti® bracket. This is the only curtain walling bracket to feature a comprehensive thermal break. It provides superior structural integrity, without being compromised by cold bridging and effectively dampens noise and vibrations.

Levolux also provided an attractive plant screening solution to conceal the hospital’s plant and equipment at roof level. The VLS50 Ventilation Louvre system was chosen, featuring specially developed ‘S’ shaped louvres to ensure optimum airflow, weatherability and good looks.

The Ventilation Louvres, each measuring 50mm wide, are fixed horizontally at a pitch of 50mm and are incorporated into several single bank louvred sections. These range in height, from 700mm up to 4.3 metres, and in length, from 1.2 metres up to 43 metres. The louvres combine to cover a surface area of 720m2, which is equivalent to 3 ½ tennis courts.

All aluminium components, including the Infiniti Fin system and Ventilation Louvres, are finished in an attractive, yet highly durable dark grey powder coating. The horizontal and vertical Timber Fins, all formed from Western Red Cedar, have been left untreated and over time will acquire a cool, silver-grey patina.

Mike Wakeman, an associate with Halliday Meecham was particularly impressed with Levolux’s contribution, commenting: “The Levolux interface with Triniti brackets was a real success of the project. The external envelope of the building has been really well received by the client.”