WALKING ON THE WILD SIDE December 2013
WWF-UK recently moved from its base in Godalming, to its new home in Woking, Surrey. Known as the Living Planet Centre, the landmark building, with its distinctive arching roof, boasts a fully automated, internal Solar Shading solution from Levolux.
The two-storey, 39,557 sq ft headquarters development for WWF-UK was designed by Hopkins Architects to achieve a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating – the highest classification of sustainable design achievable in the UK.
In essence, the building works in harmony with its urban-rural setting, exploiting the latest sustainable development principles. This includes ground-source heating, a system to recycle fresh water and a dynamic solar shading system that controls light, heat and glare.
To maximise daylight levels throughout the building, rooflights are used extensively, with a total of 112 glazed openings. To allow control of daylight, heat and glare levels, Levolux designed a solar shading solution applying fabric blinds to suit the unique nature of the building.
Levolux was approached at an early stage, working collaboratively with architects to develop a highly effective and flexible solar shading solution. This comprised a combination of fixed fabric panels and a series of single and double Roller Blinds, applied internally along the length of the building’s 80 metre long diagrid roof structure.
All Roller Blinds supplied and installed by Levolux at the WWF-UK building are motorised, with an intelligent control system ensuring optimum deployment, taking into account the position of the sun and daylight levels at any given time. This helps to maintain a naturally lit and comfortable internal environment.
Responding to a challenging brief, Levolux fitted a variety of different types of tensioned fabric blinds, including fixed fabric panels which occupy 14 unusually shaped openings, 72 single motorised Roller Blinds distributed across all areas, and 6 double motorised Roller Blinds located centrally at the northern end of the building. Levolux also fitted 40 of its 780 motorised Roller Blinds vertically in office areas.
The double Roller Blinds combine a white fabric, with a 3% openness factor, as featured on all other blinds, with a specialist ‘black-out’ fabric fitted above this. The combination of the two fabrics ensures very precise control of daylight levels in a 150-seat auditorium.
The new WWF-UK building was opened on 1st November 2013 by Sir David Attenborough and has been critically acclaimed as one of the most eco-friendly developments in the UK. By benefiting from a host of energy efficient features, such as the automated internal Roller Blinds from Levolux, around 300 workers who now occupy the building are likely to agree.