Cranfield University AIRC

The new Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire is equipped with innovative, energy-saving technology, including a distinctive external solar shading solution from Levolux.

Levolux was invited to design and install a custom brise soleil solution comprising large vertical fins, applied to east and west-facing elevations. Levolux also provided a plant room screening solution for the south-facing elevation.

Levolux engineered 30 vertical fins for the project, each comprising a series of aluminium frames, with front and rear tubular nosings. The fabricated frames or panels are wrapped externally in a specially selected dark grey solar control fabric. With an openness factor of 4%, the micro-perforated fabric acts as an effective thermal shield.

All vertical fins measure 1.4 metres wide by 91 mm thick, but the overall height of fins differs between the two elevations. Fins fitted to the west elevation extend up to 10 metres in height, from 1st floor to roof level, while those fitted to the east measure 6.2 metres in height, providing clearance for the large folding doors below. All vertical fins are fixed at a pitch of 2.5 metres for optimum shading performance.

Levolux secured the vertical fins back to the curtain walling using its high performance Triniti® bracket. The bracket incorporates a comprehensive thermal break to minimise cold bridging and improve acoustic isolation. The front edge of each vertical fin is also braced by horizontal stainless-steel restraining cables that extend across each elevation.

In addition to the brise soleil, Levolux also provided four plant screens within the south-facing elevation. Each louvred plant screen measures 6.5 metres wide by 3.6 metres high. For ease of access for routine maintenance and cleaning, two double louvred doors are concealed within two of the louvred areas.

Utilising its unique ‘S’-shaped profile, set at a pitch of 75mm, the Contour louvre system ensures that plant and equipment operates efficiently, concealed from view within a protective, ventilated enclosure.

All aluminium components supplied by Levolux are finished in a highly durable dark grey powder coating.