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A glazed facade with cedar louvres

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working details

The west facade of the manufacturing building faces the main entrance courtyard and is single-glazed to give views of the main production line. Workers are protected from glare by a series of vertical louvres which are motorised to respond to sunlight. A fixed brise-soleil at the eaves cuts out glare from high-level summer sunlight.

The 10m high facade is supported by elliptical steel columns which run behind it at 10m centres and are connected to the main roof structure with torsion brackets. The louvres are supported at top and bottom by a series of splayed, cast aluminium outriggers.

A pair of steel channels, set one behind the other and connected by insulated steel studs, supports the outriggers. The outer channel runs along the facade and the outriggers are bolted to it with M12 bolts. The inner channel is bolted to the columns and is braced with a profiled 15mm steel flat and 75mm dia CHS stiffener between each column.

Each louvre is formed of two 25mm western red cedar boards framed with leading and trailing edges of aluminium and set between a vertical aluminium centre post. The centre posts of the louvres rest on an aluminium extrusion which houses the motors. The aluminium trailing edge is perforated to allow a small amount of light through, avoiding sharp contrasts when the louvres are almost closed.

Below the louvres the facade is of 12mm toughened glass. Behind them it is 10mm annealed glass, set in aluminium frames and supported by 120 x 60 x 6mm RHS vierendeel frames. The clerestory glazing is of 12mm annealed glass. Single glazing could be used since the frames are fully supported and the louvres reduce thermal shock.

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