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Article Date: 15th June 2016

Levolux Keeps Researchers in Shade

Solar Shading - Ventilation Louvres - Screening Louvres - External Louvres

Levolux - Manchester Cancer Research Centre

The new BREEAM ‘excellent’ rated Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) building, harnesses the latest building technology, including a custom solar shading and screening solution from Levolux.

As a world-leading cancer research centre, the MCRC provides the optimum conditions for researchers to come together with a common vision. That is, to transform cancer care through the development of personalised medicine.

The MCRC is designed by Wilson Mason architects and is funded by three partner organisations, The University of Manchester, Cancer Research UK and The Christie.

The building’s design harnesses natural resources, including light and heat from the sun, to create an energy efficient and highly sustainable development.

As the UK’s leading solar shading and screening specialist, Levolux was invited to develop a custom solution, utilising its Infiniti Fin system, Contour Ventilation Louvres and XL Screening Louvres.

Deployed correctly, solar shading will allow heat gain to warm a building in the winter but then minimise excessive heat gain in the summer. This not only creates a comfortable environment for occupants throughout the year, but also helps to reduce a building’s energy consumption. For the MCRC, Levolux devised an arrangement of external aerofoil-shaped fins, based on its Infiniti Fin system.

Aerofoil-shaped aluminium fins, each measuring 200mm wide, have been used extensively at the MCRC. All fins are fixed at an angle of 90 degrees to absorb and reflect the sun’s rays most effectively during the summer months. The openness of the fins helps to maximise daylight levels, while retaining good outward visibility for occupants.

The MCRC development comprises a collection of contrasting, interconnecting blocks. To the north is a long rectangular-shaped block, enclosed by glazed curtain walling. Arranged over three levels, this section of the development provides open-plan office space for non-laboratory researchers.

Several arrays of vertically stacked, horizontal aerofoil-shaped fins have been applied to the south-facing elevation at first and second floor levels. The fins appear continuous in sections ranging in length from 8 metres up to 32 metres, set at a constant pitch of 250mm. The fins are cantilevered beyond vertical carrier arms at each end, making them appear to float in front of the building.

Levolux - Manchester Cancer Research CentreTo the south of the site is a series of interconnected, angular blocks, with distinctive white aluminium cladding interrupted by recessed glazed openings. These blocks accommodate several state of the art laboratories and a lecture theatre.

The same 200mm wide aerofoil-shaped fins have been incorporated into stacks, fixed externally against vertical and inclined elevations. The flexible design of the Infiniti Fin system, allows fins to be set at a different pitch at each of the vertical carriers. This unusual arrangement, where the fins rise and fall along their length in a random pattern, complements the overall scheme.

To aid ventilation, particularly around plant and equipment located around the development, Levolux utilised its high performance Ventilation Louvres. The louvres are incorporated into sections extending up to 4 metres in height and 8 metres in width. The ‘S’ profile louvres are set at a pitch of 50mm, allowing excellent airflow with outstanding weather protection. For additional protection the louvres are backed with birdmesh.

To complete the solution, Levolux’s XL Screening Louvres have been used to obscure the view of plant and equipment at roof level. ‘Z’ profile louvres, set at a pitch of 140mm, are inverted to form a louvred screen measuring almost 7.5 metres long by 3.4 metres high, with an integral louvred door.

All aluminium fins, louvres and carrier arms are finished in a highly durable black grey powder coating, to complement the scheme.

The MCRC building, with its attractive solar shading and screening solution from Levolux, provides the ideal environment to accommodate up to 250 workers, including 150 laboratory researchers and a further 100 office-based researchers.

The MCRC is part of a masterplan for The Christie site as the Centre aims to build upon its status as a Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Major Centre. To underpin this, provisions are already in place for a phase 2 MCRC development.

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