Derwent Point, London

Architects: Church Lukas architects
Type of works: supplied Steni’s Colour fibreglass reinforced polymer composite panels.

Cladding panels from Steni UK have helped to deliver a landmark mixed-use project in London that for more than two decades looked as if it would never get off the ground.

Steni’s Colour fibreglass reinforced polymer composite panels were specified by Church Lukas architects to create a strong white feature frame around the facades of Derwent Point including a vertical column on the junction of two red routes into London - Wakley Street and Goswell Road in Islington.

The practice discovered the Steni panels when they were researching competitively priced large panel cladding products that could be hung in a rainscreen configuration.

Graeme Barker said: “The Steni panels were selected following an exhaustive product review for a glossy, large panel product with long-lasting and hardwearing characteristics that was lightweight and could be supported by a lightweight Metsec wall which was already constructed on site.”

The Steni panels, which feature a smooth, UV-resistant surface of electron beam-cured acrylic produced without the use of solvents, were installed using industrial adhesive by specialist envelope contractors Oskomera Facades (UK) for main contractor Galliford Try Construction during the 14-month build.

Completely resistant to weather, water, chemicals and impact, and fire classified to SITAC standard (approval certificate no 0478/98), they feature a 25-year working guarantee. Available in three gloss levels (matt, half matt and high gloss), two thicknesses and 44 standard colours, they can also be supplied in almost any special colour from the NCS-, RAL- or BS- colour system.

The £8million project for developers Derwent Living comprises 136 studio apartments with more than 3,000ft² of office and retail space at ground level on less than a fifteenth of a hectare, a space that also had to accommodate 20% on-site renewable energy generation but had no room for solar or ground source technologies to be employed.

But it has achieved a BREEAM “Excellent” and EPC “A” rating with a mixture of CHP, biomass boilers and whole house ventilation as well as an extensive biodiverse green roof.

Being landlocked by two city red routes was just one of many challenges the development overcame. Previous schemes for four stories of student accommodation had been refused planning but Church Lukas’ focus on a high-quality landmark building won the eight-storey scheme permission in 2009. This was despite long-term resident opposition that was overcome by a series of Church Lukas led public consultation meetings.

Rights of Light issues had to be addressed early in the design as the site had been vacant for more than 20 years and was surrounded by residential properties. The practice worked closely with a Rights of Light specialist to arrive at a maximum scale of development.

The layouts of the 15m² apartments are based around a fire engineered escape strategy which helped to generate more than £500,000 of additional end value through increased bed spaces while also increasing building floor space efficiency.

A Category D noise assessment was also overcome with high-performance facades and whole house venting with heat recovery to allow generous full-height glazing, maximising space and daylight in the rooms. The facades also feature innovative projecting desk pods.

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