Spire Manchester Hospital

The £65 million Spire Manchester Hospital, located in Didsbury, is a new flagship hospital which is equipped with cutting-edge building technology, including a Levolux solar shading and screening solution.

The solar shading solution comprises a combination of horizontal and vertical Timber Fins and Levolux’s Infiniti Fin system, applied externally on the outer elevations and within the building’s enclosed courtyard area.

Timber Fins, engineered from Western Red Cedar, have been used on the project with variations in size, profile and orientation.

Aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins have been supplied in two sizes. A smaller fin measuring 230mm wide by 40mm thick has been incorporated into a series of vertical stacks on south and east-facing elevations. The vertically stacked, horizontal Fins are set at a pitch of 198mm.

Two larger sections of the horizontal Fins are fitted to south and east-facing elevations, with integrated walkways and handrails. A custom, extruded aluminium mullion extends vertically across each floor, providing a suitable fixing point for the Fins. The inclusion of walkways and handrails allows easy access to the recessed glazed façade, for routine cleaning and maintenance.

Around a curved, west-facing elevation at first and second floor levels, larger aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins have been fitted vertically. The vertical Fins, each measuring 290mm wide by 69mm thick, create an effective shading structure that shields glazed areas from the sun as it passes across the building. The array of vertical Fins extends 8 metres in height and continues almost 90 metres in length, following the curved, glazed façade.

Smaller, rectangular-shaped Timber Fins are also fitted vertically to the north-facing elevation. Here the Timber Fins, each measuring 90mm wide by 40mm thick, are used for aesthetic purposes, complementing the overall scheme.

A central, enclosed courtyard area also required solar shading at high level on its south-facing elevation. Here, Levolux utilised its Infiniti® Fin system to form an array of horizontal, aerofoil-shaped Fins formed from extruded aluminium. 19 rows of vertically stacked Fins, each measuring 250mm wide, combine to create a shading structure measuring 6.5 metres in height and almost 16 metres in width.

The Timber Fins and the Infiniti Fin system are secured back to a unitised curtain walling system using Levolux’s thermally broken Triniti® bracket. This is the only curtain walling bracket to feature a comprehensive thermal break.

Levolux also provided an attractive plant screening solution to conceal the hospital’s plant and equipment at roof level. The VLS50 Ventilation Louvre system was chosen, featuring specially developed ‘S’ shaped louvres to ensure optimum airflow, weatherability and good looks.

The Ventilation Louvres, each measuring 50mm wide, are fixed horizontally at a pitch of 50mm and are incorporated into several single bank louvred sections. These range in height, from 700mm up to 4.3 metres, and in length, from 1.2 metres up to 43 metres. The louvres combine to cover a surface area of 720m2, which is equivalent to 3 ½ tennis courts.

All aluminium components, including the Infiniti Fin system and Ventilation Louvres, are finished in an attractive, yet highly durable dark grey powder coating. The horizontal and vertical Timber Fins, all formed from Western Red Cedar, have been left untreated and over time will acquire a cool, silver-grey patina.