The future of vision & daylight control
 

Solar Shading Systems: Fixed & Motorized Louvers

Case Studies

North Carolina Museum of Art

The context:

The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA), sited in a 164-acre park in Raleigh, has completed an expansion comprising a unique blend of art, architecture, and nature. The centerpiece is a new 127,000-square-foot, light-filled building designed by New York-based architects Thomas Phifer and Partners. The single-story structure, surrounded by gardens and courtyards, was created specifically to showcase the Museum’s wide-ranging permanent collection. The new construction, called West Building, features enough space to host the permanent collection of over 5,000 art objects. Also, the expansion was designed to transform the existing building into a temporary exhibition center, including administrative and educational offices, gardens and outdoor galleries, all conceived to create the nation’s largest art museum park.

The challenge:

Inspired by the surrounding scenery, the architect sought to create a vaulted roof that would match the neighboring hills while allowing controlled daylight into the buildings. In order to enhance visitors’ experience with art and help preserve the masterpieces hosted by the museum, the architect needed a system to filter UV rays and allow only a controlled amount of light to seep in. After a review of available shading solutions, Thomas Phifer & Partners selected Unicel Architectural to provide a custom-made sunscreen. The ultimate goal was to turn light into art with the help of technology.

Unicel’s solution:

For the NCMA sunscreen, Unicel developed a specially-designed blade to effectively control the amount of daylight that reaches inside the building. The blades were conceived to filter the UV rays that could damage the exhibits and to further provide optimal daylighting control. Once it passes the sunshades, a system of vaulted ceiling coffers filters and softly diffuses the light into the galleries.

The sunscreen comprises 376 curved panels of 20' x 6' (6m x 2m) made of clear anodized aluminum.

Because of the number of panels, their shape and the daylight control challenge, the NCMA sunshade was a very complex project in terms of design and manufacturing.

Today:

A unique glass-walled architectural structure with striking roof lines, a dramatic exterior, and state-of-the-art environmental elements, West Building has arisen adjacent to the original building on the Museum site. With the exterior 50 percent glass, the 127,000-square-foot gallery space allows for filtered natural light and viewing of the collection in a whole new way. Landscaped sculpture gardens and reflecting pools complement the existing Museum Park and strengthen the connection of art and nature.

The building—clad in tall anodized aluminum panels interspersed with large areas of glass—subtly reflects the surrounding land and sky. Its distinctive roofline is defined by a rhythmic series of curves that expresses a system of vaults and coffers that bring copious amounts of tempered and filtered daylight into the building.

Key parameters:

Location: Raleigh, NC
Gross square footage: 127,000 square feet (11,800 m2)
Sunscreen: 45,000 square feet (4,180 m2)
Completion: 2009
Program: Expansion, galleries, courtyards, public spaces

Team:
Owner: North Carolina Museum of Art
Architect: Thomas Phifer & Partners, NYC
Sub-Contractor: Super Sky
Shading: Unicel

Unicel architectural is a louver manufacturer, louver supplier, motorized louvers, exterior shading system, exterior louvers, fixed blinds, aluminum architectural louvers for Canada, USA, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, UAE, Africa and Caribbeans.Unicel architectural is a louver manufacturer, louver supplier, motorized louvers, exterior shading system, exterior louvers, fixed blinds, aluminum architectural louvers for Canada, USA, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, UAE, Africa and Caribbeans.