Farnborough Airport – well known as the birthplace of British aviation and site of the first UK flight – has further been enhanced by the construction of a new MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) aircraft hangar building for Gulfstream Aerospace. This all-new 220,060 sq ft hangar can accommodate 13 Gulfstream private jets at once in addition to maintenance facilities, and the construction includes three floors of office space, customer experience areas, a café and specialist service areas, together with a new car park connecting to the airport perimeter road. The project was designed by Gebler Tooth Architects and constructed by VolkerFitzpatrick at a cost of £34m. The facility will serve as Gulfstream’s main resource for customers in the London area, Europe’s busiest business aviation hub.
In line with Gulfstream’s sustainability strategy, the modern purpose-built facility at Farnborough has been designed with environmental benefits including radiant heating systems, intelligent lighting controls and heat recovery systems.
The client was needing to shade large areas of glass to provide comfortable working areas for both staff and visitors, whilst maintaining a good view to the outside – particularly over the runway. Gulfstream wanted a robust blind system with a ‘quality’ feel, in keeping with the type of clientele expected, and with the blind mechanisms discreetly hidden.
The design included large South and East facing windows with no neighbouring buildings to break up the glare from the sun, in particular low winter sun. Whilst this is ideal to allow views from the building across the airport, it presented a challenge to provide adequate shading.
On the South elevation, the windows slope outwards, but blinds needed to be in matching fabrics and systems to those on the other standard elevations.
Because of the design of the perimeter glazed walling, from the outside of the building the back of the blinds would be seen.
To counter the issue of visibility of the blind system from outside, after discussion with architects Gebler Tooth, we proposed Draper blinds with an aluminium cassette headbox, so that the blind mechanism was hidden from view both internally and externally.
ShadeTech DBL-G roller blinds were installed to the sloping areas of glazing, with zipped side channels to retain the blind fabric and eliminate the risk of it sagging. Due to the glazing sloping outwards, chain operation wasn’t suitable and crank operated blinds were installed. Manual operating chains would have needed to have been clipped back to the frames and there was no room to do this on the sloping glazing.
The blinds were all made in Verosol SilverScreen 3% openness screen fabric. This high performance fabric with metallised backing dramatically reduces glare and heat, whilst still allowing good through vision to the outside.
The finished building is impressive, particularly as it was a fast track project, and it successfully represents the high value of the Gulfstream brand and the airport. The Draper and ShadeTech blinds in SilverScreen fabric are a great finish to the offices and visitor areas, complimenting the interior fit-out and providing a practical sustainable solution. The project is expected to achieve a ‘Very Good’ rating for BREEAM.
What they say
“Waverley were fabulous to work with. Highly professional and really creative and engaging. They delivered high quality blinds that met the demands of the client.” – Gebler Tooth Architects