University of Birmingham

Electric blinds - the best solution for high level windows

Geometric designs printed on blinds in refurbished Arts lecture theatre

Printed blinds were installed by Waverley in the refurbished Arts Lecture Theatre at the University of Birmingham to give an extra ‘wow’ factor. Back-lit by daylight, printed blinds create a stunning visual display that is easy and very cost effective to execute. Advances in print technology now allow graphics, images, photographs etc to be transposed onto window blind fabrics.

By printing different geometric designs on the roller blinds, architects, Laws Design Ltd used the blinds to perform two functions – to provide light exclusion during lectures and as ‘exhibition space’ to enhance the ambiance of the room.

Three large windows at high level on opposite sides of the lecture theatre required an easy-to-use form of solar shading to provide lecturers and students with the optimum teaching/learning environment.

Three large windows at high level on opposite sides of the lecture theatre required an easy-to-use form of solar shading to provide lecturers and students with the optimum teaching/learning environment.

Electric blinds – the best solution for high level windows

High level windows are common in lecture theatres, school halls and many other public buildings. Making them easy to operate is essential and additional risks of working at height during installation have to be considered especially as lecture theatres invariably have tiered seating in place.

The performance of the blind fabric is also important in a lecture theatre or any type of educational environment. Excessive glare makes projector screens and interactive whiteboards difficult to see, but over reliance on artificial light increases energy usage. Completely blocking any visual connectivity with the outside world causes a drop in occupant’s health and well-being.

By using Waverley solar shading expertise, the architect was able to specify a blind system that is easy to operate and provides excellent protection against the effects of solar gain whilst creating a stunning visual display.

Reliable operation is key for high level blinds

Waverley manufactured and installed Draper® Flexshade electric roller blinds concealed behind a white powder coated fascia to maintain a neat finish to the window openings. Draper’s 25 year warranty makes them the most reliable blinds on the market. Reliability is an important factor when the blinds are difficult to reach and in an environment that is in constant use. The electric blinds are operated from a remote control switch located on the speaker’s lecture giving the lecture easy control of the blinds.

Waverley used ShadeTech BetaScreen® 90 screen fabric with 3% openness to reduce glare but still allow a degree of through vision to the outside world. Waverley cut the fabric to size and sent to a specialist digital print company along with artwork provided by the architect. Waverley then mounted the printed fabric to the roller blind hardware and installed on site.

Specialist access equipment was used provide safe access to the windows, with special care taken to protect the fixed seating.

The architect and the university are delighted with the end result. The architect commented ‘everyone is very happy, the blinds looked brilliant. The main contractor was impeccable in the way everything was carried out’.

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