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Suspended facade with aluminium windblades

study working details

The curved facade which faces the lake was designed to be as transparent as possible, to take advantage of the dramatic views. It is a suspended glass wall 6.2m high and sheltered by a canopy which cantilevers 7m beyond it, terminating in a bull-nosed edge which follows the sinuous curves of the facade.

A series of 445mm diameter steel columns run behind the facade, supporting a 800 x 800 x 40mm steel torsion box.Steel stubs welded to the box connect to the main roof structure - 640mm deep cellular beams at 12m centres - and to the cantilevered overhang structure - tapered I-section beams at 3m centres.

The double-glazed facade panels are suspended from the roof structure by 10 x 5mm, elliptical, stainless steel tie-rods, the same tie rods that are used to strengthen the bodywork of the Team McLaren Mercedes Formula One racing car. The rods form a storey-height framework from which the glass panels are suspended with apparently no visible means of support.Each polished stainless steel tie-rod holds 2.4 tonnes of glass in place and is connected to a curved transom which houses the edges of the glass panels.

Wind loads are absorbed by 12m-long,25mm-thick CNC-cut aluminium 'windblades'connected to columns by a machined aluminium collar. The streamlined design was inspired by the rear wing support struts of the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours-winning McLaren F1 sports car.Each column supports three wind blades with curved outer edges - convex, concave or hybrid depending on position.The curved transom is fixed to the outer edge of each windblade.

Rainwater flows into syphonic pipes concealed within the steel columns; they pass underneath the ground floor slab to discharge into the lake via stainless steel gutters.

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