Diamond Light Source Laboratories, Oxfordshire

Diamond Light Source Laboratories, Oxfordshire

Client: Diamond Light Source Laboratories
Architect: Jacobs Architecture
Type of works: supplied and installed louvres and a walk-on brise soleil

A new brise-soleil louvre system, that provides efficient control of light and solar heat gain within buildings, whilst offering safe and easy walk-on access for maintenance, has been developed by Levolux.

Renowned for its extensive knowledge and experience in creating innovative solar shading solutions, Levolux has taken its advanced 910XL Matrix product one stage further and produced the walk-on-brise soleil system.

Initially developed for use on the new Diamond Light Source, a new scientific facility built in South Oxfordshire on the Harwell Chilton science campus, this new and totally bespoke system has helped to create the now famous ‘doughnut’ shape of the new building.

The walk-on-brise soleil has been installed behind a set of 600 and 450mm wide fabricated, perforated aluminium fins to allow cleaning and maintenance access to the exterior of the building. An alternative to extruded fins, the fabricated fins allow for finishes to be added; in the case of the Diamond Light Source, perforations. This provides a softness to the fins whilst also reducing their overall weight.

The fins and walk-on-brise soleil have been installed to provide an effective solar shading solution for the occupants of the building whilst creating an aesthetically-pleasing and distinctive curved look to the building.

The walk-on-brise soleil system has been designed to perform as a rigid safe working platform for maintenance and window cleaning around the exterior of the facility whilst still performing its primary function as an effective and architecturally attractive solar shading solution. Walk-on-brise soleil offers a host of benefits to both architects and specifiers seeking to create totally bespoke and unique features for their projects:

aesthetically pleasing: walk-on-brise soleil is manufactured from extruded-aluminium components and can be anodised or polyester powder coated to co-ordinate with the building and surroundings

virtually maintenance free: stainless-steel fastenings and fixings are used, producing a virtually maintenance free and corrosion-resistant system

reduces energy costs: the ability to limit solar heat gain can reduce or even eliminate the need for air conditioning

comfortable environment: walk-on-brise soleil encourages natural ventilation and provides unobstructed outward vision

flexibility: walk-on-brise soleil can be fitted to existing and new buildings, and allows special applications to be considered

accessibility: walk-on-brise soleil gives easier maintenance, such as window cleaning and access

multi-purpose: walk-on-brise soleil may even be used for wall cladding, ventilation grilles, sight screening, pergolas, pedestrian ways, and sun terraces.

The system comprises a series of J-tread elements ingeniously spaced to provide effective shading of direct sunlight whilst creating a safe platform. Featuring non-slip tops, they are produced in lightweight extruded aluminium. Mill finished, anodised or polyester powder coated finishes are also available.

David Gordon, Levolux’s Sales & Marketing Director commented, 'Due to its very nature, where there is solar shading there is glass, and glass needs to be cleaned regularly,' he continues, 'By enhancing our Matrix system into a walk-on-brise soleil system, we have effectively created dual benefits. It has eliminated organisations’ expenditure on hiring cradle access, scissor-lifts or cherry pickers, whilst still providing them with comfortable internal environments where light and solar heat gain is effectively controlled.'

The system is designed to support a 1kN point load at 1,000mm centres with support arms spaced at 3,000mm, equivalent to maintenance use by one individual only. To ensure a totally safe environment, handrails or fall arrest systems can be incorporated into the design.

Like all systems from Levolux, the walk-on-brise soleil system is backed with the company’s design, manufacture and installation package and can be produced in a variety of finishes to co-ordinate with the overall architectural design of any building.

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