February 2014

City College Norwich’s new £4.3 million Creative Arts Building provides the optimum environment for students to develop their talents, thanks in part to a Timber Fin Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

Creative Arts Building PN2 200 x 200Designed by BDP to achieve a BREEAM excellent rating, the Creative Arts Building exploits Norfolk themes, with its twin glazed gable ends influenced by traditional timber barns and local churches. The building provides 2,700 m2 of highly functional teaching space dedicated to art and drama, arranged across 3 floors.

The large expanses of glazing in the twin glazed gable ends not only boost daylight levels in studios and teaching areas, but also create an impression of warmth and openness to approaching students and visitors.

Such a large area of glazing, albeit facing west, significantly increases the risks of excessive solar heat gain and glare levels, particularly in the afternoon. If not addressed with an effective form of solar control, these risks would otherwise result in an uncomfortable and less efficient building as cooling loads would become prohibitive during the summer.

As the UK’s leading solar shading and screening specialist, Levolux was invited by the architect to help develop a custom solution applied to two glazed, west-facing elevations.

Creative Arts Building PN3 200 x 200The solution comprises two arrays of vertical Timber Fins, applied across the full height of the building. In total, 123 rectangular vertical Fins, each measuring 300mm deep by 50mm thick, are fixed at an angle of 90 degrees to the façade. This allows the Fins to shade the building as the sun passes from the south to the west, without compromising daylight levels.

Each Fin is divided vertically into several pieces separated by 250mm intervals. Two aluminium pins create a bridge between the Timber Fins, keeping them secure and aligned with those above or below. The vertical Fins scattered across the glazed facades create an interesting, rhythmic shading element.

Fins fitted to the southern of the two west-facing elevations are spaced at 350mm centres, as opposed to 700mm elsewhere. Here alternate Fins vary in height, from 3.7 metres up to 12.4 metres, while other Fins extend upward across the full height of the building. The contrasting distribution of Fins on each glazed elevation recognises the different shading requirements of each area, be it a dance studio or an art gallery.

Creative Arts Building PN4 200 x 200All Fins are engineered from Western Red Cedar timber, which is naturally attractive, structurally stable and highly durable. To complement the building’s black timber cladding, all Fins have been treated with a matt black wood stain.

All aluminium components used to attach the Fins together and secure them back to the façade are finished in an attractive matt black powder coating, neatly integrating with other façade elements.

The Creative Arts Building, with its vertical Timber Fins from Levolux, provides an energy efficient yet stylish learning resource, which effectively raises the profile of Creative Arts at City College Norwich, to rival almost any other college in the country.