June 2014

London’s Blackfriars Station has been transformed as part of Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme. As part of this, the station now boasts a new northern entrance, which is equipped with an external Solar Shading solution, from Levolux.

The station, which first opened in 1886, has been expanded to increase capacity and as a result becomes the first mainline station to span the River Thames. In addition to a new station on the south bank, a new combined entrance was also created on the north bank, allowing easy access to National Rail and London Underground services.

Blackfriars Station - PN2 200 x 200The new northern entrance, which stands more than 17 metres tall, has a modern, curved glazed envelope. Its appearance contrasts dramatically with the station’s original Victorian façade, which was constrained and starved of natural daylight. The glazed structure is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also maximises daylight levels throughout the station.

Jacobs, the lead designer on the project, worked closely with Levolux to develop a custom external solar shading solution to be applied across the glazed façade of the station’s northern entrance. This would need to perform four critical functions. To create a distinctive and attractive external aesthetic, to reduce solar heat gain, prevent excessive glare and maintain a high level of transparency and openness.

The solution comprises an array of fixed extruded aluminium Aerofoil Fins, arranged horizontally across 30 bays. Each Aerofoil Fin, measuring 140mm wide with a free span of 2 metres, is secured between 100mm wide aluminium side plates. The bays of Fins are faceted, allowing them to follow the curvature of the building as it arcs from north to west.

Blackfriars Station - PN3 200 x 200The number of Fins fitted to each bay varies, from just 14 in bays facing furthest north, increasing to 65 Fins in bays facing west and in five south-facing bays that continue around a corner.

The same Aerofoil Fins have also been incorporated into a horizontal projection just inside the entrance to the station. Here, the Fins are angled vertically, secured between side plates to form an overhead screen measuring 6.8 metres in length by 1.7 metres deep.

In addition, Levolux also supplied and installed its XL Matrix Screening Louvres, featuring an attractive ‘Z’ profile, to screen a roof plantroom. The Louvres are applied to two elevations, fixed at a pitch of 140mm to create a 3 metre high screen, with a combined length of more than 65 metres. The louvred screens appear continuous, concealing five double louvred doors and one single louvred door.

Blackfriars Station - PN4 200 x 200To complete the solution, Levolux applied its High Performance VLS50 Ventilation Louvres along a south-facing façade above the station’s office accommodation. Louvres feature a sleek ‘S’ profile, backed with bird mesh to create a well ventilated, yet weather-proof façade, measuring 3.2 metres in height by 26 metres in length.

All Aerofoil Fins have been given an attractive silver natural anodised finish, while other aluminium components feature a durable silver grey powder coated finish.

The newly renovated Blackfriars station has been acclaimed as a considerable achievement. More than 44,000 passengers a day now pass through the station, and for those using its northern entrance, with its impressive glass enclosure, wrapped in a Solar Shading solution from Levolux, their journey will be all the more comfortable