A Venetian blind system integrated with a double glazed insulated glazing unit (IGU) from Australian Glass Group helped architecture firm Bates Smart achieve the desired performance goals in their design of a mental health facility in Melbourne.

Designed by Bates Smart in association with Irwin Alsop Architects and constructed by Kane Constructions at a cost of $59 million for the Department of Human Services – Monash Health, the Dandenong Hospital Mental Health Facility (Stage 1) presented specific challenges to the design team, as aesthetic and practical considerations were tightly interwoven to achieve performance goals.

The design team identified Venetian blinds as the preferred shading and privacy system for double glazed surfaces; however, conventional suspended blinds were found to be inappropriate for the application because of ligature hazards and cleaning limitations in the mental health facility. Additionally, ongoing facility management requirements were required to be kept to a bare minimum to preserve the wellbeing of patients.

Insulblind, supplied by Australian Glass Group (AGG) and IND Window Fabrications, is a Venetian blind system embedded between the glass panels of a double glazed insulated glazing unit (IGU). The Insulblind design addressed all the challenges by offering a safe solution with minimal maintenance requirement.

With the Venetian blinds safely recessed between glass panels, it was possible to achieve the desired warm and controlled ambience while eliminating the dangers associated with cords. Removed from day-to-day contact with dust and airborne pathogens, the fully encased Venetian blind system contributed significantly to general cleanliness and infection minimisation, facilitating interior hygiene.

AGG’s Insulblind IGU with the fully encased Venetian blind system was superbly compatible with all the stringent design parameters, meeting the aesthetic as well as functional requirements of the client’s brief.

When combined with Low-E glass in the IGU design, Insulblind provides a superior energy efficiency platform for enhancing the heating and cooling characteristics of the building. However, the interstitial Venetians add an extra level of controlled heat and glare protection for the comfort of the residents while also ensuring privacy.

Insulblind IGUs are easy to operate and can be fully raised or lowered making them particularly suitable for environments with special needs residents. Being fully enclosed within the double glazed IGUs, the Venetian blinds are completely protected from all kinds of damage including accidental tugging or pulling, strikes from shoes or vacuums, or creased slats caused by pushing down on assemblies.

Image: Insulblind IGUs with Venetian blinds safely recessed between glass panels