INTO THE GROOVE IN LIVERPOOL
July 2014

A new £8.5 million multi-storey car park in Liverpool recently scooped the prestigious ‘Best New Car Park’ award, in recognition of its ground-breaking design and first-class finish, including a custom external screening solution, courtesy of Levolux.

The multi-storey car park (MSCP) development, for the Royal Liverpool University Hospital (RLUH), represents the first phase of a £429 million regeneration project which is due for completion in 2017.

RLU Hospital Car Park PN1 200 x 200Designed by IBI Nightingale, the car park accommodates 706 parking spaces, arranged over seven levels. The development also accommodates a staff office, a reception area and showering facilities for cyclists.

Occupying a prominent site, between the Victorian Sacred Heart Church to the north and the Low Hill dual carriageway to the east, the MSCP has been designed to soften its impact on the environment. This not only takes into account its visual impact, but also its ability to conserve energy by maximising daylight and natural ventilation where possible.

To achieve this objective, the project architects turned to Levolux to develop a custom screening solution to be applied externally to south, east and west facing facades.

The solution comprised a combination of horizontal and vertical louvres, formed from 150mm wide ‘C’ section aluminium extrusions, along with vertical perforated aluminium panels and security mesh screening panels.

On south, east and west-facing elevations, louvres are arranged horizontally, grouped into a series of panels, each measuring 2.4 metres wide by up to 3 metres in height. The panels combine to form a series of vertical stacks, extending up to 17.5 metres in height. The pitch and angle of louvres in each vertical stack varies. This creates interesting openings that help to maximise daylight levels, while offering good outward visibility.

RLU Hospital Car Park PN3 200 x 200Alongside the vertically stacked horizontal louvres, perforated aluminium panels have been used to create vertical bands that help to break up the rectangular form of each elevation. Each panel measures 2.4 metres wide by 1.4 metres high, with 20mm perforations arranged in a rectangular grid with an 80mm un-perforated margin.

To the north-west, above the entrance to the car park and enclosing the ramps to each level, Levolux installed the same 150mm wide ‘C’ section louvres, but here they are applied vertically. In total, Levolux supplied and installed more than 8000 linear metres of vertical louvres to create an attractive, continuous screen that adds a further contrast to the scheme.

The louvres are fixed at 100mm centres and are clipped securely to the structure using an extruded aluminium mullion. This allows the louvres to be fixed at an angle of 45 degrees, while accommodating the curvature of the building.

RLU Hospital Car Park PN4 200 x 200To complete the installation, Levolux also installed security mesh screening panels to each floor. Galvanised steel mesh panels have been applied extensively around the perimeter of the building at ground floor level to enhance security and protection for pedestrians and vehicles. They have also been used to enclose ancillary areas and to form a raised safety barrier at roof level.

To ensure long-lasting good looks, all aluminium components have been powder coated with contrasting colours. Many of the components feature a subtle light grey colour, with the exception of a portion of louvres on each elevation which are accentuated, with an attractive red oxide colour.

The Royal Liverpool University Hospital Multi-Storey Car Park, which was constructed in a challenging live hospital environment by IHP, is symbolic of a shift in approach to car park design. Thanks to some innovative design features, such as the external screening solution from Levolux, this car park manages to combine functionality and efficiency with a dash of style.