Jones of Oswestry reproduces tree ring motif in Ventraflow tree surrounds for new library

Jones of Oswestry reproduces tree ring motif in Ventraflow tree surrounds for new library

Ventraflow tree surrounds, specially manufactured by Jones of Oswestry with a distinctive tree-ring pattern and specially profiled text, have provided an eye-catching feature to landscaping at Crawley’s new town library.

The tree motif and wording for the tree surrounds were conceived and designed by Lizard Landscape Design, landscape architects for the external landscaping and car park to the £16M library.

Project Landscape Architect, Andrew Ramsay, said: “We knew Jones of Oswestry would be able to incorporate the design idea into an off-the-shelf product to reflect the theme of tree rings and words.”

With scope for diverse patterns and designs using computer controlled profiling, Ventraflow offered a cost-effective solution for creating the unique design in a high durability, high quality unit.

In all, Jones of Oswestry produced eight Ventraflow units, four at 1,500 x 1,500mm overall, and four slightly smaller (without the text) at 1,200 x 1,200mm overall.

The success of the units draws on Jones of Oswestry’s full range of steel fabrication skills.

First, expert design was needed to reproduce the irregular, organic tree ring shape and text in a coherent and realistic form while achieving a structurally rigid element. Then, skilled manufacturing and laser profiling were required to reproduce the design accurately, with the use of subtle tie-plates to help fully form the text. Finally, an experienced hand was essential during hot dipping of the tree surrounds to prevent warping or twisting, which also relied on strategically located strengthening detail within the fabrication.

The quotations, by famous figures such as Shakespeare and Groucho Marx, include references to books to link with the library theme.

The text and tree ring design echoes similar themes used to decorate the library interior where real tree trunk installations have been used, designed and made by Gordon Young, adorned with words, phrases and quotations in typefaces set by whynotassociates.

The landscaping comprises a woodland garden and plaza at the front of the library with focal square demarcated by red maples and Hornbeams planted in the Ventraflow.

Andrew Ramsay of Lizard Landscape Design said: “We specify hot dip galvanising for any external metalwork in mild steel, and expect the longest possible life.”

Fully complying with this, Jones of Oswestry hot dip post-galvanises its landscaping products in-house with different levels of Duragalv zinc post-galvanising, providing long service life comparable to stainless steel at significantly less cost.

Thicker coatings of hot dip post-galvanising, in excess of the 70 microns stipulated in BS EN ISO 1461: 1999, will sustain longer service life while accounting for accelerated ‘wear’ induced by local atmospheric corrosivity, pollutants in urban surface-borne water and mechanical abrasion from service loads.

West Sussex County Council has realised the new library under the South East Centre of Excellence (SECE) framework. The architect was Penoyre and Prasad, Currie and Brown was the QS and MACE the contract administrator.

The modern, elegant 3-storey building houses what is now West Sussex’s largest library, together with 45,000 sq/ft of office space including a register office.

The new buildings incorporate a number of green design initiatives such as biomass boilers, a sedum roof, and thermal mass for heating and cooling. High security covers to the biomass woodchip storage bunker and basement plant room have been supplied by Technocover, a sister company to Jones of Oswestry within Technogroup.

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