Muirhead Tower
Birmingham

Muirhead TowerMuirhead Tower 1Muirhead Tower 2Solar Shading at Muirhead Tower

Project Details:

  • Location: Birmingham
  • Architect: Associated Architects - Birmingham
  • Main Contractor: Galliford Try Construction Limited

Brief:

Colt designed and provided a secondary facade of fixed glass louvres as part of the refurbishment works for Muirhead Tower in Birmingham.

The Muirhead Tower was originally completed in 1971 and is a sixteen-storey landmark building owned by the University of Birmingham. Owing to failure of its glazing system, the building has undergone a complete refurbishment right back to its concrete frame.

A Colt Shadoglass system incorporates a system of supporting steelwork and bespoke brackets attached to the existing concrete floor slabs onto which are attached low iron laminated fixed glass louvres with a bespoke 50% white frit optimised for solar shading and light transmission. The glass louvres are 320mm wide and up to 3000mm long, with intermediate stainless steel hanger supports. This is an unusual design because of the long louvre spans and the consequent need for special fixing arrangements.

Colt designed and installed the 24m-high glass facade which has been hung off a ring beam system attached to the roof. Wind loads are carried back to the columns via slender T-section mullions. Colt provided adjustable louvre brackets enabling the louvres to be accurately positioned during installation as the steel structure flexed under their weight. These brackets are also designed to allow easy removal of glass for maintenance or breakage.

These elements have been installed onto the south facades of two towers that are each 41m high, and the total area of glass louvres is approximately 1000m². The purpose of this secondary façade is to act like an additional skin in order to control the solar heat gains and light entry to the building.

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