"God is in the details"

"God is in the details"

June 13, 2022
Sport & Leisure

“God is in the details,” said famous architect and modernist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,

A small component of a complete design, an architectural detail has the power to characterise and define a building. Here we focus on our design for Braywick Leisure centre, to see how these details identify what a building is, and how they become a fundamental part of the life and personality of the space. We also explore how they can also solve construction challenges.

50 Striking wooden vertical “fins” adorn the glass façade of Braywick. These large brise soleil blades (ranging from 3m to 5m tall) are designed to provide visual impact, but also break up the sun’s rays, protecting leisure centre users from the sun’s glare and reducing heat gain within the building. Creating a defining characteristic, they add a pleasing textural and organic quality. They break up the front elevation with a strong vertical component that contrasts with the undulating curve of the roof structure.

The curtain walling on the front elevation provides a feeling of space and connection with the parkland setting for the users within, improving their experience and comfort. The solar shading system allows the low-level sun to enter the building in the mornings, evenings, and during winter, which is fundamental to a sense of wellbeing, while cutting out direct light during summer.

The name ‘brise soleil’ comes from the French word ‘sunbreaker’. The system was developed by the Swiss architect and city planner, Charles Édouard Jeanneret.  As a pioneer in passive energy control, he first used solar shading on multi-story buildings in the 1930s and with sustainability at the core of progressive architecture, his work remains more relevant than ever.

Braywick is one of the first in the world to use state-of-the-art i-SOL8 thermal-break brackets. The brackets, which attach solar shading systems to curtain walling, have been developed in response to new strict building regulations relating to interstitial condensation. In short, any penetration to the curtain wall envelope must now have a thermally efficient interface. Nowhere is this more important than in public spaces like leisure centres and swimming pools, where warm, moist air meets the cooler surfaces of the building’s construction and can cause condensation and damp. In the case of curtain walling, the condensation can cause serious internal damage to the mullions.

Close attention to detail is manifest in successful building design, we have found our holistic design approach pays dividends both aesthetically and practically over the lifecycle of a build

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