July 2012

In creating their latest Sustainable Learning Store, Marks & Spencer used cutting-edge eco-building technologies, such as rainwater harvesting, biomass heating and a Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

Designed by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson architects, the BREEAM rated ‘Excellent’ development provides more than 148,000 sq feet of retail space, arranged over two floors, with two separate cafes and a giant Food Hall.

M&S Cheshire Oaks1 200 x 200The external envelope of the building features full-height glazed sections set into its south elevation and across the length of its east facing elevation, which is interrupted by two main entrances.

The large expanse of glazing allows natural daylight to penetrate deep into the core of the building, reducing the dependency on artificial lighting. To counter the risk of excessive solar heat gain, which would otherwise require offsetting with expensive air conditioning, Levolux was approached to develop an external Solar Shading solution.

M&S Cheshire Oaks2 200 x 200In-keeping with the ‘sustainability’ theme, Levolux proposed a solution comprising rectangular Timber Fins arranged into a series of vertical stacks, applied to the main building and to the adjacent car park.

In total, Levolux manufactured, supplied and installed more than 250 single piece Timber Fins, each engineered from Western Red Cedar, which has been finger-jointed and laminated. Timber Fins measure 480mm deep by 65mm thick and are set into 30 bays within vertical stacks, with spans ranging from 3.5 up to 6.2 metres. Fixed horizontally at an angle of 5 degrees, the Timber Fins provide effective solar control to glazed areas and openings.

M&S Cheshire Oaks3 200 x 200To ensure maximum structural integrity is maintained and to eliminate any risk of cold bridging through the external envelope, each stack of Fins is secured back to curtain walling mullions, using Levolux’s thermally broken Triniti® Bracket. In addition, stainless steel drop rods provide further support between Fins, allowing them to span up to 6.2 metres.

All timber supplied by Levolux for this project is FSC-certified, derived from sustainable sources, with a full chain of custody. Western Red Cedar is a lightweight, durable timber and to create a naturally impressive aesthetic it was left untreated. Over time the Fins will acquire an attractive, silver-grey patina.

M&S Cheshire Oaks4 200 x 200The supporting structure, including support arms and brackets were finished in a light grey matt powder coating to complement the overall scheme.

M&S’s Sustainable Learning Stores incorporate energy-saving building technology, as demonstrated by the inclusion of Timber Fins at its Cheshire Oaks store and the illuminated Brise Soleil utilised at its Stratford City store, both of which were supplied and installed by Levolux.