CH2’s western façade features a system of recycled timber shutters that protect the building from the late afternoon sun, while also enabling views out of the building and natural light to enter the building. The shutters are open when the sun is in the eastern or northern sky, closing only when the sun is in the west.
One aim of the shutters was to provide a responsive sun shade system for the office. By constructing the shutters from reused scraps of timber that would otherwise go to waste, they also show how materials age over time and weather at different points on the façade.
The timber was sourced from Nullarbor Timbers from two hundred derelict and demolished houses. The timbers are Australian native hardwood species, such as jarrah, ironbark, red gum and blackbutt. Untreated, the shutters will be left to age and go grey naturally.
The shutters move automatically to a pre-set program based on the seasonal position of the sun. Therefore the movement occurs daily, regardless of whether the sun is hidden by overcast skies.
The shutters are slatted to maximise the amount of daylight that can be admitted while still performing their protective function. In summer, the shutters fully close fairly quickly and, when the sun is nearly square-on to the building, they then open slightly to stop the sun from penetrating through the slats.
In winter, the shutters close more slowly and do not need to close completely as the sun does not get square-on to the building. In winter, the main purpose of the shutters is to protect staff from the glare of the sun’s rays.
The movement of the shutters is hydraulically operated using vegetable oil. The power required to operate the shutters is produced by the solar photovoltaic cells on the roof of CH2.