SCRUBBING UP AT THE RVC January 2012
The Royal Veterinary College’s new £5.4 million Teaching and Research Centre (TaRC), situated at the heart of its Hawkshead Campus, benefits from natural ventilation and a stylish Solar Shading solution from Levolux.
Architecture PLB was appointed to design the Teaching and Research Centre (TaRC), incorporating a new gateway into the campus. The multi-level development comprising offices, laboratories and social learning spaces, was officially opened in December 2011 by the Princess Royal.
The TaRC building features Western Red Cedar cladding and generous glazing, including two roof lights which allow daylight to illuminate the building. Research areas and academic offices are accommodated on upper levels, while the college’s new double height entrance leads to social learning areas and flexible laboratories.
To ensure optimum internal conditions are maintained within the building and its roof plantroom, Levolux was invited to develop a solution combining its successful Infiniti Fin system, along with its Ventilation and Screening Louvres.
Heavily serviced laboratories, situated along the south-facing elevation, are warmed naturally by the sun, thanks to double-height glazing, which also gives them a light, airy feel. While this is highly desirable during the winter, solar heat gain can become excessive in the summer without some form of solar control.
Levolux’s Infiniti Fin system was chosen to provide effective solar control. Eleven horizontal, aerofoil-shaped Fins are fixed at 45 degrees to absorb and reflect a proportion of the sun’s rays before they enter the laboratories, thereby limiting solar heat gain in the summer.
The 300mm wide, extruded aluminium Fins are divided into two groups, with six rows of Fins arranged into a vertical stack at low level and a vertical stack of five Fins at high level.
With its unique design, the Infiniti Fin system features integral stainless steel fixings, allowing supports to be concealed within the Fins themselves. In contrast with traditional bird mouth/beak type fixings, this not only creates a neater, sleeker aesthetic, but also gives the Fins greater structural integrity, so they remain stable under the most extreme weather conditions. This is also achieved without the need for structural end plates, so the Fins can be cantilevered past the last support, giving them an attractive, continuous appearance.
Levolux also installed 50 sq metres of its Ventilation Louvres to create a highly ventilated, weather-resistant plantroom enclosure. Featuring ‘S’ profile extruded aluminium louvres, with a pitch of 75mm, the louvres combine to create an attractive, seamless aesthetic. The louvred facade incorporates double louvred doors, which allow access to the roof plantroom for maintenance and ongoing servicing.
To complete the solution, Levolux installed its ‘Z’ profile XL Screening Louvres at roof level, around one of two roof lights. Set at a pitch of 140mm, the extruded aluminium louvres are arranged into an attractive ‘U’ shaped vertical screen which has a total length of 15.4 metres and a maximum height of 3.2 metres.
The Infiniti Fin system, Ventilation Louvres and Screening Louvres from Levolux combine to enhance the building’s external envelope, by reducing solar heat gain, encouraging natural ventilation and creating a complementary aesthetic quality.
The Royal Veterinary College is the UK’s first and largest veterinary school and a constituent College of the University of London. Thanks in part to Levolux’s contribution on the project, the building achieved a BREEAM (2010) rating of ‘Very Good’, reflecting the Royal Veterinary College’s ambition to realise a world-class, sustainable teaching and research facility.