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Suspended facade with aluminium windblades

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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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