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Waterloo delivers cutting edge solutions for skyscraper that shatters the glass ceiling when it comes to design

Waterloo Air Products plc was specified when it came to delivering a well-balanced air distribution solution for one of the tallest buildings in Western Europe. The building which opened last year to critical acclaim stands tall in excess of 1000 feet and makes a landmark statement for the capital city that boasts such an iconic structure on its skyline.

“Waterloo has worked on many high profile projects in cities across Europe. This particular project was an unconventional design that required an innovative approach to meet its cooling and heating requirements,” comments Rick Edmondson, Chairman, Waterloo Air Products plc.

“We were delighted that standard and customised air distribution products were specified and used extensively on many levels and helped to achieve an Excellent BREEAM rating.”


From the specification through to the build, no expense was spared to deliver cutting edge technologies, which have set new fabrication standards for buildings that are far from conventional and where glass in place of bricks and mortar plays a pivotal role.

Environmental control was a key criterion to ensure optimal air flows and deliver a balanced internal environment; the widespread use of glazing presented a unique set of challenges, but the anticipated high solar heat gains were tempered using a low iron glass with a solar control coating.

When it came to conditioning the building, air terminal products were carefully selected for optimal performance. Working closely with one of Europe’s leading firm of consultants, Waterloo’s supplied an extensive range of products including eyeball diffusers and linear slot diffusers, which were used extensively with the addition of custom designed grilles and louvres for the apartments and the six purpose-built retail units that have floor- to-ceiling glazing throughout.

Eyeball diffusers are capable of delivering air to spaces where long distance penetration and low noise levels are required. Fully adjustable they are ideal for providing focused ventilation or where precision is required.

The linear slot diffusers offer high aerodynamic and acoustic performance and are suitable to variable volume applications due to the excellent low flow rate air diffusion characteristics and high air handling capacity.

The building has been designed to look like the material from which it is made. With no exterior cladding, its 11,000 triple glazed panels expose every bolt and weld. Each facet forms ethereal vertical splinters shooting skywards. The architect has successfully achieved the desire to reflect light and the changing patterns of the seasons and sky.

“Building location, orientation, construction and glazing can impact how the building behaves and affects its occupants. The specification and placement of air distribution products are critical to the performance of any air conditioning system and are critical to the comfort in the space,”

“With architects designing more ambitious projects that push the design boundaries, understanding airflows is paramount to delivering the comfort levels expected, even in the most dynamic environments” adds Rick.

In addition to a well-designed air conditioning system, the building further addresses sustainability issues by incorporating rain water harvesting and a combined heat and power plant to maximise efficiencies and help reduce the overall running costs of the building. Photovoltaic panels were also used to supplement the power throughout the whole building.

Waterloo has designed solutions for a number of award winning high profile projects, many of which featured in many of the buildings short listed for last year’s highly coveted RIBA Stirling Prize – the London Aquatics Centre, The Shard, LSE’s new student centre and included the winner the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool.