The development of the Velux Modular Skylight system was carried out in cooperation by Velux and Foster + Partners. It combined the expertise and experience of Velux for robust and versatile rooflight systems with F+P’s industrial design skills and international architectural experience of daylight design for large commercial and cultural projects. The project team consisted of the Velux X-Lab product development team and F+P’s Construction and Industrial Design teams who worked together over a period of four years from concept to prototype completion.
Key product objectives were defined as high thermal performance targets, natural and smoke ventilation options, modular sizing, multiple configurations, integrated motors and accessories. The design and material performance of the slim, glass fibre reinforced framing were critical to maximise daylight and to support the large glass unit sizes. These frames were developed by Velux, based on design criteria set by F+P.
During the design process there was a focus on simple and robust roof interfaces for concrete, timber and steel roof structures to avoid the need for specialist trades on site. The use of pre-tested, prefabricated modular units enables quick and simple site installation and reflects the international trend for increased off-site construction.
Prototypes were extensively tested in Velux’s facilities for a wide range of extreme conditions in European climates, not just from rain but also snow, ice, heat and wind. Since then, units have been installed in a wide range of buildings across Europe.
Paul Kalkhoven, born 1955 in Haarlem, Netherlands. Head of Technical Design and since 2007 leader of Foster + Partners’ Construction Review Group. He has been a Senior Partner since 2004. He studied architecture and town planning at the University of Technology in Delft and joined Foster + Partners in 1986, working on the Stansted Airport project, followed by a series of projects in Germany, including the Design Centre in Essen, the Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt and the Gerling Ring mixed-use development in Cologne. He was also responsible for the fit-out of the entrance, conference and restaurant spaces at the Swiss Re headquarters in London and the Circle hospital project in Bath. He led the development of the VMS roof light with Velux.