July 2017

The new $198 million Edson Healthcare Centre in Alberta, Canada is designed to alleviate unnecessary stresses for patients. This is achieved by creating a naturally bright and cool interior, partly thanks to a custom external solar shading solution, courtesy of Levolux.

An interdisciplinary team of architects, interior designers, and structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers from Dialog, focused on maximising daylight levels and creating an open and inviting building for patients, staff and visitors.

Floor to ceiling glazing is used extensively in circulation areas and at the ends of hallways. The openness of the facade allows occupants to easily navigate the building, while feeling connected with the outside world, taking in views of the surrounding forests and beyond to the Rocky Mountains.

The building occupies a sloping site, with the main entrance to the north and an open outlook to the south. The abundance of glazed areas on the south-facing elevation posed a potential problem for architects as it increased the risk of excessive solar heat gain from occurring. Without adequate protection, prolonged exposure to the sun, particularly during the summer, would push internal temperatures up to uncomfortable levels.

Levolux, a world-leading solar shading specialist, was approached to develop a Brise Soleil system for the south-facing elevation of the building. The custom solution comprises 17 rows of extruded aluminium blades that extend almost 70 metres, horizontally across a two-storey glazed façade.

The aluminium blades, each measuring 200mm wide by 6mm thick, are formed from flat section aluminium plate material. The blades are fixed at a pitch of 400mm, supplied in lengths of up to 5 metres.

Each aluminium blade is engineered to be gradually twisted along its length. Light reflected by the twisted blades creates an illusion of movement that alters as you approach the building.

The degree of twist applied to blades varies by up to 22.5 degrees between each vertical carrier arm. Each row of blades has been twisted differently, ranging from a vertical position (0 degrees), to an angle of up to 67.5 degrees.

An innovative cleat system has been incorporated to fix the blades at the desired angle at each vertical carrier arm. Aluminium plates fixed to the rear of each blade, allows them to be twisted in-situ and fixed at one of four pre-determined angles. By creating a custom template for fixing the twisted blades, components were produced with minimal variations. This facilitated a quick and uncomplicated installation process.

The twisted blades, carrier arms and cleats are secured to the glazed curtain walling system using custom stainless-steel brackets. The brackets were developed from Levolux’s popular Triniti® curtain walling bracket, for uncompromised performance.

Levolux designed the complete assembly of twisted aluminium blades, carrier arms and brackets, to satisfy challenging environmental conditions that are experienced in Alberta. This includes being subjected to extreme temperatures and withstanding high wind and snow loads.

To complement the overall scheme, Levolux supplied all aluminium components, including the twisted blades and carrier arms, in an attractive natural silver anodised finish.

Opening on 1st November 2016, the Edson Healthcare Centre, with its striking twisted blades, provides a light and welcoming environment. Unlike conventional healthcare institutions, it harnesses natural daylight and good outward visibility, to promote well-being and good health.