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2017 Awards for Excellence Winner – Blinds and Screens

Dave Giddens Sailmakers                                                                         

Project name:  Glass Atrium Shade                 

Fabric used: Carrflex PVC Mesh

Fabric Supplied by: Carr Group

Components supplied by: QCD


What did the client request?

For this project we were approached by a prominent architect who was looking for a shade solution for a new home in Muriwai, West Auckland. The house was built around an impressive central hexagonal glass atrium.

It became apparent during construction that the automated atrium windows were not going to provide adequate cooling. A shade solution was also going to be required.

We were asked if we could provide a blind solution that would reduce heat build-up within the house. It was important that the blinds retract on demand in order to take advantage of the suns ray when heating was in fact desired.

A number of aesthetic requirements were conveyed by both the architect and the homeowner, but the design and implementation of the solution was left entirely to us.

What is unique or complex about the project?

This project presented a number of challenges.

First and most obvious was that the blinds needed to be triangular in shape. The blinds would need to unroll from the base of the window with only a single point to pull them by. The shape meant it was not possible to use tracks or guides for the blind.

The oblique angle of projection was another challenge. Unlike a vertical drop, where gravity can be relied upon to maintain tension on the blind, the oblique angle meant that as well as a mechanism for winding the blinds in and out, an additional mechanism was required to maintain tension on the blind – preventing sagging.

Fabric selection was crucial to the success of the project. A lightweight mesh fabric that provided the desired shade properties was required, but it also needed to be strong in not just the horizontal and vertical directions, but also on the diagonal. The blinds needed to retain their shape when extended. A number of fabrics were trialed during the design phase before the ideal fabric was settled upon. 

The solution needed to integrate with the building management system (BMS) to ensure that the active heating and cooling of the house would continue unaided even when unoccupied. Each of the six blinds was configured in such a way that the BMS could operate them individually or as a group. The BMS was also programmed to ensure the blinds did not interfere with the window opening and vice-a-versa. 

What were the results of the project?

This project was both a qualitative and a quantitative success.

Qualitatively, the customer was very happy with the outcome, from both an aesthetic and from a performance perspective.

Quantitatively, there was a very measurable success. When the system was installed in mid-Janurary the customer was struggling to keep the daytime peak temperatures within the atrium below 40 degrees Celsius. Following installation, the peak temperatures were immediately reduced to a comfortable range in the mid-twenties.

As the temperature drops towards the end of the day the blinds can automatically retract to take advantage of what is left of the heat from the sun. 

Is there any other relevant information?

Whilst a picture tells a thousand words, it would be great if we could have submitted a video of this solution in operation. It is quite a visual treat to see the blinds extending and retracting in “symphony” with each other.

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