Roof lantern provides ideal solution for world’s largest permanent exhibition centre

Traditional craftsmanship and modern materials were expertly combined to enclose a courtyard at The Building Centre in Store Street, London, enabling the venue to expand its exhibition space. The structure, consisting of a bespoke roof lantern featuring a lightweight aluminium frame, was manufactured by Hertfordshire based Europa Conservatories which specialises in manufacturing high quality aluminium architectural glazing structures.

The Building Centre holds the UK’s largest permanent showcase of construction products and single source of information and research for the construction sector. As a focal point for the industry, it covers all aspects of architecture and design, construction, planning, home improvement, DIY and self-build.

When Europa managing director Glenn Upton visited the centre looking for somewhere to display his company’s range of glazing products, a chance conversation with a Centre director resulted in a new project for his company.

The challenge

Although the outdoor space in question was used to exhibit building products, rainwater leaked into the basement below which was also used as an exhibition area. Despite numerous attempts the Centre could not rectify the problem.

Glenn commented, “After establishing the nature of the problem, I explained that the simple solution would be to enclose the space. This would prevent leakage into the basement and also create an additional indoor exhibition area which could be used all year round. With land at a premium in city centres, our structures allow outside areas to quickly and affordably be incorporated as additional indoor space.”

As the courtyard was an irregular shape and any structure needed to incorporate the existing box gutters used for drainage, Europa was tasked with creating an entirely bespoke solution.

The Europa Solution

The fitted roof lantern, which measures approximately seven by eight metres, is totally self-supporting ensuring that no additional steel work was required. It features an automated ventilation system that maintains a constant temperature in the newly created space whatever the weather. Two roof panels and a side glazed elevation automatically open when a pre-set temperature is reached – and in the event of a change in the weather the system has a rain sensor override.

The outer surface of the roof lantern consists of Pilkington Activ self-cleaning glass, which was selected for its low maintenance qualities, while a soft-coat inner pane along with argon gas guarantees energy efficiency.

John Gibson, Commercial Director of The Building Centre commented, “It’s good to see this newly enclosed exhibition space being used to best advantage. Working with Europa has been a very satisfying experience throughout – they’ve offered a very professional service in every sense, from design and installation to meeting deadlines. We couldn’t be happier with the result.”

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