Bespoke shading for Telford College


A series of bespoke motorised shading fins, that project and tilt to create an intelligent form of controlling solar heat gain, light and glare, have been produced for Edinburgh’s Telford College by Levolux.

Designed by architects HOK, the new £60 million Telford College has been built to replace its existing four campuses with a single, custom-built building.

A major part of the project involved the study of a range of sustainable solutions developed with Max Fordham Engineers, as the college was concerned about the building’s impact on the environment. HOK therefore introduced a number of initiatives including natural day lighting and ventilation, voltaic solar energy panels, reed beds for grey-water recycling, and a 23 metre, barrel-vaulted roof covered with ETFE (inflatable transparent plastic cushions), similar to that used at the Eden Project providing good thermal insulation and maximum natural light.

HOK worked closely with Max Fordham Engineers to develop a dual aspect daylighting provision to the classrooms. This involved clerestory glazing to the classrooms supplemented by vision windows at head height. To avoid east and westerly solar glare, HOK required an external sunshading system which could respond to the changing conditions. Levolux demonstrated it had the ability, skill and expertise to provide for this specific application as well as other less bespoke solar requirements.

For the eastern and western elevations of the building, Levolux created a series of 950mm deep by 7.4 metre wide fins. Produced in perforated sheet aluminum, they are framed in extruded aluminum and fixed above the clerestory windows of the classrooms. Linked in sets of four – two on the first floor and two on the second floor – they are controlled by a motor which automatically manages the angle at which they are positioned. Pivoting on a series of wall mounted fixings, they follow the sun using an intelligent software system created by Levolux, angling through 100° simultaneously. This creates a uniform method of shading that ensures maximum daylight enters the building.

Guy Comely, architect for Telford College commented: “HOK has contributed to the regeneration of the waterfront at Granton by designing a group of well-connected, daylit, naturally ventilated buildings which provide a lively campus venue for the schools of Business, Sports, Engineering, Care and Communications, Creative Arts and Leisure.”

Now completed, the purpose-built college is a flagship for further education, catering for 20,000 students and nearly 600 staff and brings the latest developments in teaching and educational technology to the city.

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