Maple's brise soleil fins deliver wow factor at University of Huddersfield's Oastler Building

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Maple’s brise soleil ‘fins’ deliver wow factor for award-winning Oastler Building 

The Oastler Building is the new home for the University of Huddersfield's Law School and School of Music, Humanities and Media. During planning, Vice Chancellor Professor Bob Cryan said: “We want something architecturally striking ― when students and parents come to the campus, I'm looking to give them the ‘wow’ factor.”

Universities often incorporate large areas of glazing to provide more natural daylight and create a feeling of space inside. However, there can often be a downside, with heat and glare from direct sunlight making life uncomfortable for occupants.

Maple have years of experience in designing, manufacturing and installing systems that reduce ‘solar gain’ but this project required something more. So, we worked with the architects AHR, main contractors Morgan Sindall and the project's glazing contractors to arrive at a solution that was practical and striking. The end result was a series of innovative vertical fins that provided that 'wow' factor the client wanted.

We designed, supplied and installed 42 fins – looping like ‘hockey sticks’ over top of the building and extending downwards across the six-storey façade. Constructed from aluminium, the fins are anodised in Anolok 543 for protection and to provide a solid contrast to the light-reflecting glazing. They have specialist fixings to cope with all wind and load-bearing issues, and were designed, manufactured and tested at our Stockport factory.

Interestingly, reducing glare and solar gain wasn’t actually part of our original brief. However, by using our expertise in façade design and solar screening, we were able to create a product that was not only visually striking but also helped the client improve the building’s comfort and performance beyond their initial expectations.