Levolux in the groove in Yeovil

A new multi-storey car park, which is part of a £15.2 million access and parking scheme for Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, makes a positive impression, thanks to its external screening solution provided by Levolux.

Situated on Higher Kingston, across the road from the hospital’s main entrance, the new four-storey car park accommodates 653 parking bays and is an impressive addition to the hospital site.

Delivered by the Trust’s strategic estates partner Interserve Prime, and designed by One Creative Environments Ltd (One), the car park helps to improve vehicular access to the hospital site for staff, patients and visitors.

Having a sloping site presented a number of challenges with the retaining walls, access and foundations. These were overcome by carefully designed elevations which included a green living wall and masonry panels.

Due to the car park’s substantial size, with overall dimensions exceeding 115 metres in length, 31 metres in width and 11 metres in height, it was also vital to soften its visual impact on the beautiful Somerset landscape. As a result, One approached Levolux to develop a custom external screening solution.

The solution comprises an arrangement of vertical aluminium fins backed with mesh panels, applied to all four elevations of the car park to form flowing patterns when viewed along the length of the elevations.

In total, Levolux designed, manufactured and installed 480 vertical, aerofoil-shaped fins for the multi-storey car park. The fins, which are formed from extruded aluminium components, extend more than 8 metres in height, from ground floor up to roof level.

Based on Levolux’s popular Infiniti Fin system, the vertical fins are cantilevered to different lengths below the lowest horizontal carrier rail, while rising 1.8 metres above the roof level to form a protective building envelope.

Two different types of fin were required for the project.

327 of fins (70%) have a slightly larger profile, measuring 240mm deep by 65mm thick. These have been applied to south, east and west-facing elevations. The vertical fins are distributed across these elevations, with a pitch that varies from 300mm up to 500mm. Some fins fitted to the south-facing elevation are also inclined at an angle. This helps to break up the pattern of fins that extends more than 100 metres, along the length of the building.

The larger fins provide a canvas onto which a distinctive series of waves have been superimposed. To achieve this, Levolux designed new extrusions to allow each fin to accommodate a series of 250mm long by 60mm deep curved notches.

By precisely aligning the notches in a predetermined pattern, they trace out the lines of three distinct waves that rise and fall as they extend around the car park. The waves are most visible on the car park’s south-facing elevation, which accommodates several entrances and exits. The notched fins create an interesting and unusual external aesthetic, which changes depending on your viewpoint.

A second type of vertical fin has been incorporated onto the north-facing elevation, with 153 fins, representing 30% of all fins installed. The fins, which also extend from ground floor up to roof level, have a slightly smaller profile, each measuring 190mm deep by 55mm thick. They are also spaced further apart, with a pitch of between 400mm and 600mm. Unlike the larger fins, these do not feature notches, hence the wave pattern is not present on this elevation.

Behind the fins, Levolux provided two different types of mesh panels to create a secure, yet naturally ventilated building envelope. Mesh panels extend vertically across each level of the car park, with a typical height of either 2 metres on lower levels and 700mm at roof level.

Attractive and highly durable stainless-steel rope mesh panels are used extensively across each elevation, particularly at lower levels. In contrast, expanded aluminium mesh panels are incorporated on east, west and north-facing elevations, on upper levels.

Thanks to the unique design of the Infiniti Fin system, the vertical fins, with their light grey powder coating, appear to float in front of the car park, extending seamlessly across the building with hidden fixings. All other aluminium components, including the horizontal carrier rails and expanded mesh panels, have been given a subtle, dark grey powder-coated finish.

The naturally ventilated, external screening solution provided by Levolux for the Yeovil District Hospital car park is both visually striking and cost-effective. The development of the car park, along with a new one-way system and link road, will satisfy the increasing demand from staff, patients and visitors as they access and exit the site, without inconveniencing local residents.