GETTING CLINICAL IN WARWICK March 2012
The University of Warwick’s new £6.7 million Mechanochemical Cell Biology Building is equipped with a host of innovative technologies that enable it to push the boundaries of biomedical research, including a bold Solar Shading solution from Levolux.
BMJ architects undertook the design of the 16,000 sq foot building, which represented a significant challenge. Not only were they required to satisfy the client’s scientific brief, but also a targeted BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’, which was achieved. The completed building creates an attractive focal point for Gibbet Hill campus, sitting proudly at its main entrance.
The building accommodates research laboratories, equipment suites, and offices, all requiring controlled environmental conditions to be maintained throughout the year. To help make this possible, Levolux was invited to develop a custom Solar Shading solution.
The custom solution comprises an intricate arrangement of external, fixed aerofoil-shaped aluminium Fins, which wrap around two elevations, providing solar control for the building’s glazed openings.
Eleven vertical Fins have been applied to the building’s west-facing elevation, each measuring 700mm in depth and ranging in height from 6750mm down to 1900mm. These interconnect with thirteen horizontal Fins using 90 degree welded, mitred corners. The horizontal Fins, each measuring 400mm in depth, appear as two vertical stacks that run continuously along the building’s south and west facing elevations, with an upper stack of seven Fins and a lower stack of six Fins.
The seamless arrangement of vertical and horizontal Fins could only be achieved by combining Levolux’s Infiniti Fin system with its Triniti curtain walling bracket. This not only allows impressive spans, but also offers the flexibility to cantilever the Fins past the last support and for the vertical and horizontal Fins to be fixed at precise angles to create the optimum sun cut-off angle.
By effectively absorbing and reflecting the sun’s rays before they impact on glass, on exposed south and west facing elevations, the interior remains protected against excessive solar heat gain, which is essential to maintain a naturally cool, comfortable interior and virtually eliminates the need for expensive, energy sapping air conditioning.
All aluminium components are finished in a complementary light grey powder coating, which is extremely durable and easy to maintain.
The distinctive three-storey building, which links to the recently completed Clinical Trials Unit (CTU), represents the latest extension to Warwick Medical School (WMS). These two state-of-the-art facilities, equipped with contrasting Solar Shading solutions from Levolux, provide the controlled environments necessary to conduct important research and studies, which will, in time, lead to the development of new treatments to benefit patients.