VELUX Commercial were specified to provide a structural barrel vault rooflight system for the new Braywick Leisure Centre, contributing towards the project’s focus on sustainability and the environment.
The Magnet Leisure Centre, built in the centre of Maidenhead around 1975, has been replaced by a new facility set in a nature reserve on the outskirts of the town. BRL Architects were appointed by the local council to design a state-of-the-art leisure centre that embraces the beauty of the surrounding tree-lined park. Sustainability improvements and the local community were at the heart of this project.
“We wanted to achieve the feeling of an outdoor path or street within the enclosed building that could become a market, a foyer to the theatre, or simply a space for people to gather. We used timber in the large double-height central gallery to knit into the beautiful surrounding trees and the idea was to flood the area with natural light. The hope is that the community will own the space and shape its future use.”, explains Richard Clayton, the Associate Director of BRL Architects.
VELUX Commercial won the tender to deliver the 45.6m x 4.3m structural barrel vault rooflight system, with integrated ventilation, planned for the central gallery.
The use of a diffused polycarbonate solution minimises glare on sunny days, making it possible to look up and see the large timber arches amongst the rays of natural light, a view not dissimilar from the walk in the nature reserve around the leisure centre.
From the outset, this project focused on the environment and sustainability, and the use of daylight, as a free resource, replaces the need for extensive use of artificial lights in a large space that would operationally require continuous light provision. Studies, such as the energy consumption of buildings and daylight (2016), show that use of daylight in communal spaces can reduce overall energy use by at least 10% and significantly contribute to a reduction of operational carbon footprint.
Designing a vertical frame to integrate natural ventilation into the bespoke daylight solution
VELUX Commercial worked closely with Wates Construction and BRL Architects from the outset. Raphael Coppens, Senior Design Manager at Wates Construction adds: “We had feedback from VELUX Commercial from the start, they assisted with the design of the daylight and ventilation solution and also helped us and the architect to understand what was and wasn’t feasible. They offered us the full package; design knowledge, high level of preconstruction accuracy and fast installation.”
VELUX Commercial designed a vertical frame to incorporate a natural ventilation solution within the barrel-vault shape of the rooflight to minimise any visual impact. The rectangular aluminium structure sits beneath the rooflight and accommodates 23 EN 12101 certified centre pivot louvres for both smoke and comfort ventilation on either side of the rooflight. These appear very much like windows. The ventilation design minimises the impact of the wind on the convection in the building and promotes sufficient airflow to provide comfort cooling in the summer months and to deal with any heat build-up that may otherwise cause condensation. Smoke ventilation was designed and introduced into the gable ends of the rooflight to achieve the necessary smoke ventilation area.
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