DMU Vijay Patel Building

The award-winning, £42 million Vijay Patel Building at De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester, combines several structural elements, each distinguished by a contrasting, yet highly effective external solar shading and screening solution, courtesy of Levolux.

The solution includes a diverse range of products, including curved Aerofoil Fins, faux terracotta Fins, PV integrated Glass Fins and plant screening louvres. These have been applied differently on the building’s three main structures.

The eleven-storey, 1960’s built Arts Tower has been comprehensively refurbished and now benefits from laminated Glass Fins, incorporating building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology.

In total, Levolux provided 156 Glass PV Fins for the Arts Tower, each measuring up to 763mm wide and up to 3.3 metres in length. The Fins have been divided into two sections. 81 Fins have been fixed horizontally in a vertical stack on the tower’s south-facing elevation. The remainder are fixed vertically, secured with angled brackets to the south-west facing elevation.

The Glass PV Fins provide a welcome return in the form of renewable energy. The Fins combine to generate a maximum of 46 kW.

The Design Wing, which runs from east to west, at the northern edge of the development, is a large, six-storey structure with a modern, glazed façade. Its south-facing elevation is fitted with rectangular-shaped faux terracotta aluminium Fins, each measuring 150mm wide by 50mm thick. To replicate the look and feel of terracotta, Levolux developed a special extrusion, with rounded edges.

Projecting from the south of the Design Wing is ‘The Pod’, an ultra-modern, five-storey, curved glass structure. It benefits from an array of extruded aluminium Aerofoil Fins, each measuring 300mm wide by 40mm thick. In total, 23 rows of Fins are fixed horizontally, set at a pitch of 565mm. To accommodate the structure’s inclined, curved form, the Fins have been precisely curved and are secured back to a custom aluminium support structure.

At roof level, Levolux developed a plant screening solution, utilising its XL Screening Louvres. Three louvred enclosures have been formed, scaling up to 3.6 metres in height, with a combined length of almost 200 metres. With a ‘Z’ shaped profile, the louvres provide effective visual screening, with excellent airflow. To facilitate access for maintenance, Levolux incorporate double louvred doors in each area.

In addition, at roof level on the Pod structure, Levolux’s Contour Louvre system was specified to create a high performance plant screen. The louvred facade extends 3.2 metres in height and almost 12 metres in length. The louvre’s ‘S’ shaped profile, delivers an attractive, yet highly weather-resistant façade. The louvres are backed with bird/insect mesh for increased protection, while double louvred doors were provided to satisfy access requirements.

Levolux’s high performance Triniti Bracket was used extensively across the development to integrate the various solar shading elements with the curtain walling.

All aluminium components supplied by Levolux for this project were finished in an attractive and highly durable powder coating. This is available in a wide range of colours and with a range of specialist surface treatments, including a faux terracotta finish.