Kawneer is university’s knight in shining armour
Kawneer curtain walling and doors feature on a new business enterprise centre at the University of Reading
Glazed elements by leading architectural aluminium systems supplier Kawneer have played an “integral” part in the look of a landmark building at the University of Reading that provides a “vision for enterprise”.
Kawneer's mullion-drained AA®100 SSG (Structurally Silicone Glazed) curtain walling with 50mm sightlines was used on the main entrance screens, and zone-drained AA®110 curtain walling, with 65mm sightlines, in all other areas. In addition, AA®605 low/medium-duty swing doors were used as façade and "window" elements within a façade at the university's new £12 million Enterprise Centre.
The new steel-framed building on a hectare of land within the main “Whiteknights Campus” replaces a single-storey post war building with 5,500m² of floor space for research and development, office and workspace over three storeys. It also comprises meeting rooms, networking areas, conference-style suites and a coffee shop.
The university’s brief to architects Scott Brownrigg, who are masterplanning the university’s Science and Innovation Park, was for flexible office space in a state-of-the-art and “Very good” BREEAM rated Enterprise Centre that encompassed sustainable design and encouraged a new business community within what is primarily a suburban environment.
Designed with flexibility in mind and catering for a range of occupants, the building features a central glazed and timber-clad atrium which links two elements defined by aluminium rainscreen cladding panels and brick facades.
It features a reduced floor plate depth to allow good levels of natural sunlight, a highly insulated envelope, PV panels, chilled beams, solar hot water, green and brown roofs and an underground urban drainage system.
The Kawneer systems were installed by specialist sub-contractor Aluminium Sashes for main contractor Kier Moss for developer Kier Property and have been used as a curtain wall façade as well as “window” sections within the brick, timber and rainscreen façades.
Associate Paul Hogston said: “The new Enterprise Centre provides a vision for enterprise, a high-quality business environment for new and established businesses. Through design, this landmark building helps to bring people together, providing multi-use space for business and communication and inspiration through the quality of space, environment and building envelope.
“The curtain walling and glazing helps to establish key facades that express the new building to the surrounding context and to establish a dramatic, high-quality vision and identity within this part of the campus.
“The glazed elements played an integral part in creating the overall vision and aesthetic for the building. The high-quality, full-height curtain walling façade to the west helped to express the building to the remainder of the campus, while the windows (curtain walling sections) carefully linked the three elements of the building together and provided the connection within the design which was necessary.”
He added: “The introduction of solar control glazing removed the need for some of the horizontal brise soleil which helped to promote the clear and well-defined form of the building. The aluminium was specified as a standard requirement yet also allows for potential re-use and replacement in the future. This along with the rainscreen provides added value. The specification provided the design flexibility that we as lead designers expect.”
Scott Brownrigg have used Kawneer systems on a number of projects including commercial offices and educational facilities, said Mr Hogston.
He added: “The client feedback on the building has been brilliant. The design and development process has been received as exemplary and the end product highly commended by all involved. And as regards the glazing, the client was extremely impressed with the visual impact of the design as a whole.”
Photo: Martin Cleveland Photography
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