Penyrheol Comprehensive, Swansea

Penyrheol Comprehensive, Swansea

Client: Penyrheol Comprehensive, Swansea
Architect: Stride Treglowan Davies
Contractor: Carillion Cardiff
Type of works: manufacture and supply of Petrarch rainscreen panelling

Petrarch rainscreen panelling manufactured by CEP Claddings in the UK has been chosen to provide a secure and fire resistant façade for the brand new building at Penyrheol Comprehensive, after the original school building was devastated by an arson attack in March 2006.

To ensure that the new building would be as resistant as possible to any future vandalism or damage, Architect Stride Treglowan Davies and contractor, Carillion Cardiff worked together with the local Architectural Liaison Officer sub to achieve Secured by Design accreditation for the new scheme.

As well as highlighting key security issues such as perimeter fencing, access points, natural surveillance, material specification, CCTV requirements and external lighting, the security review identified the need for robust materials such as brickwork and render at low level and no climbable features between ground level and the first three metres of the building.

Continuing upwards the focus on durability and security, Petrarch reconstituted stone panelling was used as high level rainscreen material to the gables and as a special feature on the main elevations of the new school building. Manufactured at CEP Claddings' factory in Sussex, Petrarch is BBA accredited and designated as Class ‘O' fire performance, while being highly impact resistant and non absorbent to graffiti, which makes it a material of choice in busy environments such as schools.

Petrarch panelling was chosen in a dark ‘Heather' shade with a riven surface to replicate natural slate. However, because it is just 7mm thick, Petrarch is exceptionally lightweight and durable, offering various advantages over natural stone, slate and terracotta - including ease of handling and cost savings on fixings and structural elements such as foundations.

The new building is due to be handed over ready for pupils to move into at the start of the September term. The finished Petrarch façade of the new building is the triumphant conclusion of a three year development since fire gutted the original teaching facilities established in 1973.

While pupils resumed their full time education with weeks of the fire and returned to the Penyrheol site in September 2006, work was only just starting on a new building to replace the destroyed teaching block. The aim was to create a new start for the school and provide a facility which would offer a positive focal point for the school and wider community.

The new building is designed with three wings, the main entrance being via a three storey foyer that leads into a three storey street, leading to all teaching and administration spaces. The teaching spaces are located with a northerly aspect to avoid heat gain issues, while the art and library spaces have a southerly aspect enjoying panoramic views.

The result is a contemporary learning environment offering more than 40 teaching rooms, including a new design technology centre and specialist suites for science, art, IT and music. A new library and dining hall together present the front elevation, which is finished beautifully with the aesthetic effect and resiliance of Petrarch.

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