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A contemporary approach to building design inspires professional learning

At Exeter College in Devon, UK, modular skylights have been installed above an existing steel infrastructure as part of an extension project that connects old and new buildings. Elegant, slim beam skylights and steal pillars mirror one another in length, creating an awe-inspiring design aesthetic that is not only eye-catching, but considerate of building owners’ safety requirements. Roof access for future maintenance played a central role in design planning, as did the need for the skylights to be elevated in a manner that maximizes daylight exposure, across multifunctional college spaces.  

Team collaboration and an innovative design tool    

A motivation at the planning stage was to inspire learning through building design. The college wished to create a professional environment that motivates learning the moment students step into a central atrium full of daylight. But to achieve this goal and communicating largely online, contractor Willmott Dixon required a reliable and adaptable daylighting partner.  

A prerequisite to success was ensuring strict project timeframes were met and there was minimal disruption to study. Willmott Dixon and VELUX Commercial in collaboration with AWW architects, utilized the VELUX Daylight Visualizer—a 3D digital tool that accurately calculates daylight levels and glare.  

The VELUX Daylight Visualizer assisted decision makers in making efficient and informed daylighting decisions in accordance with cost, timing and the optimization of daylight. Once 3D images were simulated and visualized, building owners specified 78 modular skylights, confident their project goal of a timely completion would be met. In 8 weeks, two rows of skylights were manufactured and delivered onsite—it took two days for the fully prefabricated skylights to be installed. 

A futuristic college hosts cultural events across multipurpose spaces  

Ensuring this flagship campus could also host events played a role in the selection of an atrium daylighting solution. Events by Penguin publishers and the City Council have been held at the main entry point of the college. Student led events include readings and fashion shows in a multifunctional space that inspires young learners to achieve in academia and vocational studies.    

Today, students thrive in a college that encourages people to spend time together with a book or simply enjoy one another’s company. Daylight now enters breakout spaces, classrooms, a canteen, and multifunctional entry spaces, helping to deliver the wow factor.   

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Products used in project

2 x Step Longlight

Step Longlight/Ridgelight

Multiple rows of skylight modules connected to create a large glass roof.

Illustration of Step Longlight Read more in the product category

Quantity of modules: 78

Step Longlight/Ridgelight

Multiple rows of skylight modules connected to create a large glass roof.

Illustration of Step Longlight Read more in the product category

Steven Strang

Director of Estates and Information Technology at Exeter College

With building projects, sometimes the result doesn’t live up to what you have planned. This building design delivers exactly as the Daylight Visualizer 3D images predicted—we can now provide the people who come to our college with a wow factor.

Simon Inch

Specifications Manager at VELUX Commercial

There was great communication throughout the duration of this building project with the entire team. Working in a largely online environment went so well—it really was a pleasure to be a part of this project.

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