Castle College Training Centre, Nottingham Science Park

Castle College Training Centre, Nottingham Science Park

Architect: Hawkins\Brown
Type of works: installation of Kingspan KS600 and KS900 MM Mini-Micro architectural wall panels.

A stunning new Technology Centre in Nottingham is redefining architecture in Science Park settings with a radical re-imagining of how composite panels technology can be used.

Architects Hawkins\Brown ripped up the blueprints for the usually bland suburban structures often found in technology parks and literally went back to the drawing board, coming up with their own unconventional design for Castle College’s Highfields Automotive and Engineering Training Centre at Nottingham Science Park.

The design, which comprised a pair of two-storey wings slightly converging towards a ‘blob-shaped’ entrance structure known as the Hub, required multi-coloured cladding to the first floor of the wings and part of the Hub. A built up system, consisting of a metal sub-frame with insulation and resin-impregnated timber-fibre rainscreen cladding, was rejected in favour of Kingspan KS600 and KS900 MM Mini-Micro architectural wall panels with integral coloured finish in Moorland Green, Linden Green and Yellow.

Project Architect Jeremy Walker of Hawkins\Brown explained why. He said: “The Kingspan system provided economy and speed of construction, required less substructure and had a lower self-weight. The panels have a variety of surface finishes and come in remarkably large sizes so there are few breaks. For the Hub I asked for curved panels, not expecting a positive answer, but Kingspan just said ‘yes’.”

Kingspan was able to say ‘yes’ because its Architectural Wall Panel range has been specifically designed to offer a comprehensive range of aesthetic wall cladding solutions without forsaking thermal performance or air tightness. In addition, the company supports creative ideas from specifiers and contractors at all project stages through its envirocare technical services, a team of experts able to respond to new challenges as well as aiding specifiers and contractors to achieve required building standards such as U-values.

Blueprint, the developer of the Highfields Training Centre, places a passionate emphasis on environmental sustainability and has stated its aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% at the new training establishment. With 100% reliable thermal performance; low air leakage of 5m3/hr/m2; and guaranteed long term performance of up to 25 years, the Kingspan panels not only look good but will also help to support Blueprint in its sustainability ethos for years to come.

The majority of Kingspan products have an ECOsafe insulation core, containing no CFC’s or HCFC’s with a low Global Warming Potential, achieve an ”A” or “A+” rating according to the Green Guide to Specification and are available in FIREsafe LPCB insurer-approved form for assured fire performance. They are also fibre-free, removing the risk of loose fibres being released and causing irritation.

The Centre has been funded by a regional project partnership including East Midlands Development Agency (emda), Learning and Skills Council Nottinghamshire (LSC) and Nottingham City Council with support from Castle College.

This innovative collaboration between industry and education will fill a sector skills gap that was identified by Toyota, Castle College and the project partners all of whom recognised the importance of the Centre in helping to further develop the region’s automotive retail, manufacturing and engineering sector base.

The 6,600m2 building is shared by the college and Toyota, who between them will educate a range of people from industry professionals to school children. The distinctive central Hub houses the reception area, cafe and library, and the two wings contain car parking, training rooms and workshops.

Photo courtesy of Redshift Photography

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