The new UK headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD, in Canary Wharf are some of the most environmentally advanced offices in the UK. Sustainability, resource efficiency and employee comfort were at the heart of the project, which will house 2,500 London-based EBRD staff.
We were called in by Perkins&Will to supply blinds throughout the building and help reframe the original specification to better meet the client’s requirements.
Getting the blind specification right was vital to prevent solar gain in the new workplace and to improve heating and air conditioning performance. The task was made more complex by the fact the building incorporated many angled windows. The situation called for both motorised and manual blinds to provide users with the flexibility to maintain the optimal interior environment.
We were also asked to provide curtains for the auditorium, servery and other specialist rooms in the bank’s headquarters. These too required innovative solutions.
For the blinds, we recommended a radical solution, something that had never been done before: high-performance Kvadrat fabrics carried on ZIP systems.
We did the R&D ahead of time to give the client the confidence that we could achieve the system and fabric combination.
In all, 239 manual single blinds and 56 motorised dual blinds were situated on sloped elevations.
SHY ZIP®Obscura® roller blinds were perfect for the job as they could be installed on vertical, sloping, or tilting windows, rooflights and shaped glazing. In the ZIP system, a specially designed zipper ribbon is welded to the edges of the blind fabric to create a super-strong, flat join.
The fabric shade covers, in Kvadrat Niesen FR fabric, were made with Zip fastener edges to retain the cover within the side channels. Niesen’s 3% openness creates a clear view outside. Its aluminium coating controls glare and reduces the need for cooling.
The fully cassetted system saves energy as air is trapped between the glazing and the blind fabric, providing additional insulation. The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) guidance on the thermal resistance of blinds states that a fully cassetted blind with a low emissivity fabric is 8.8 times more effective than a standard roller blind.
In the auditorium, we designed a system using a chain driven motor to reduce the stack size of the curtain by 75%. This kind of motorised system is more often used in theatrical stage curtains than office buildings.
We mounted the Triple E motorised chain track into bespoke suspension rods where the track deviates from the i-beam for stacking. The curtains had a Wave heading on Kvadrat Twinx flame retardant fabric.
The project called upon all of our strengths and ingenuity. Manual and motorised blinds and curtains, angled blinds, a bespoke control system (one of our specialities). We even designed custom metalwork for a blind box and side channel solution to work on the sloped façade without any mechanical fix into the mullions.
Nearly 2,000 blinds were installed over an eight-month window, which meant we had to work in close cooperation with Perkins&Will, with main contractor Overbury and others as the building was fitted out.
This was a challenging project but we’re immensely proud of the finished product. The specification and fabrication elements were innovative and far surpassed what is demanded by most modern office buildings.
Richard Steel, Shading Consultant at SHY, said:
SHY is honoured to have worked with Waverley to develop the shading solution for this prestigious project. Due to the composition of the specified Kvadrat Niesen FR fabric there were a few challenges for our production team, but with an extensive testing programme these were successfully overcome and we were able to manufacture all the blinds to meet the project timescales.
If you’d like to hear more about the project or require our assistance with your design, contact us here.