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Solar Gain #2: The Hive

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The Hive, Lever Street, Manchester by HKR Architects

Estimated completion date
December 2009
Environment Engineer
Gross internal floor area

The Hive, a seven-storey office project in Manchester, is naturally ventilated, so a balance between daylight levels and solar gain was established early on. Where possible, the building self-shades or is shaded by surrounding buildings. Blinds operate as a light shelf to reduce direct solar gain when they are open. But as windows won’t necessarily be open whenever it is sunny, other solar-shading methods are used.

The top three floors will be shaded by 11m x 500mm aluminium vertical louvres fixed to the elevation’s brickwork, and an artist-designed screen will be fixed across the first and the second floor. It will act as a foil to the fenestration behind, breaking the facade down into 7.5m modules which reference adjacent Victorian and Georgian buildings. The screen will also reduce solar overheating in summer (minimum 40 per cent shading), and providing acoustic attenuation along the scheme’s busiest aspect.

Though unfinalised, the screen will be comprised of six stainless-steel frames, approximately 7m x 9.5m, suspended 600mm off the facade fixed back to the concrete frame. The most appropriate material is anticipated to be laser-cut stainless-steel sheeting.

Carly Grice, associate director, HKR Architects


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