July 2018

Cobham School Timber Fins

ACS Cobham Oak FinsFollowing a £15 million investment, the ACS International School’s Cobham campus now boasts a new Boarding House, equipped with a Levolux Timber Fin solar shading and screening solution.

ACS International Schools is a group of four private schools, with three in England and one in Qatar. As part of a multi-million investment programme, the Cobham campus in Surrey now provides improved boarding facilities for students.

ACS School Cobham Oak FinsA new four-storey, ‘L-shaped’ Boarding House, designed by Broadway Malyan architects, has been constructed to the western edge of the campus. This is complemented by several refurbished structures and communal areas to accommodate an additional 113 students, aged between 12 and 18.

As a world-leading solar shading and screening specialist, Levolux was invited to develop a custom solution for the project, comprising laminated European Oak Timber Fins and an XL Matrix Brise Soleil system.

ACS School Cobham Oak FinsIn total, 22 Laminated Oak Timber Fins have been used to form two elevated screening structures, applied externally across projecting balconies at each end of the building. The parallelogram-shaped timber fins, each measuring 294mm wide by 69mm thick, extend more than 8 metres in height, from first floor to roof level.

Set at a pitch of 300mm, the fins provide a range of benefits to the building’s occupants, including passive cooling and increased privacy, without sacrificing daylight levels or views of nearby woodland.

ACS School Cobham Oak FinsLevolux also incorporated its Oak Timber Fins into two screening structures at ground floor level. The most impressive of these, is a large screening structure applied to a retaining wall, to the south-east of the building.

As the new Boarding House building occupies a sloping site, significant excavation and landscaping was required around the base of the new building. Part of this involved the construction of a curved, retaining wall.

ACS School Cobham Oak FinsThe wall provides a structural buffer between the new building and a service road that passes within 5 metres of the building. The discrepancy in height between the road and ground floor windows, raised concerns about privacy issues and distractions for occupants of the ground floor.

To resolve these issues, Levolux incorporated 68 Oak Timber Fins into a screening structure that increases the height of the retaining wall. The trapezoidal-shaped, laminated timber fins, each measuring 294mm wide by 71mm thick, are fixed vertically within a galvanised steel frame. Set at a pitch of 210mm, the timber fins combine to create a screening structure that extends more than 13.5 metres in length.

ACS School Cobham Oak FinsThe height of Timber Fins increases from just 500mm at the northern most point, to more than 1.8 metres in the south. This compensates for the reducing height of the wall from the north to the south, ensuring the top of the screening structure remains horizontal.

The same trapezoidal-shaped, Oak Timber Fins have also been incorporated into a smaller screening panel for the school’s new Boot Room, measuring 2.4 metres high by 2.4 metres wide. Fixed vertically within a galvanised steel frame, 11 Timber Fins are set at a pitch of 220mm and combine to create an attractive, yet highly ventilated façade.

ACS School Cobham Oak FinsIn addition to the Oak Timber Fins, Levolux also engineered a high-level, external shading canopy to the north-east corner of the building, above the main entrance.

The horizontal shading structure is formed from Levolux’s XL Matrix Brise Soleil system, with ‘Z’-shaped louvre blades fixed at 140mm centres. The canopy, which is fitted at roof level, measures 4.6 metres wide by 4.6 metres deep, with a circular feature opening at its centre.

All laminated European Oak components are untreated, making them maintenance-free and giving them an impressive, natural weathered appearance.

All aluminium components, including the XL Brise Soleil louvres and mullions are finished in a light grey matt powder coating, for long-lasting good looks.

The new Boarding House, with its impressive oak timber fins and shading canopy provided by Levolux, provides the optimum ‘home-from-home’ for American students, giving them the best chance to achieve success.