Bexhill High School, East Sussex

Bexhill High School, East Sussex

Client: Bexhill High School
Architect: Devereux Architects
Contractor: Kier
Type of works: supply of Marley's Natura Pro fibre-cement rainscreen cladding solution.

Marley’s Natura Pro fibre-cement rainscreen cladding solution has formed the central visual element of the new £38 million Bexhill High School building in East Sussex.

The contemporary appearance of the building was achieved using a combination of Natura Pro in Grey and Cool Grey, which was used extensively on all elevations.

Natura Pro has a tactile, smooth and semi-translucent surface, which allows the natural variegation of the fibre cement to show through, creating a practical as well as visually engaging building.

Devereux Architects, who designed the new High School, specified Natura Pro primarily because it features a Pro coating that offers good protection against various types of staining, including graffiti produced by common aerosol and other paints, which can be eliminated by graffiti removers; essential in a busy, 1,650-pupil school like Bexhill.

The tough, stain-resistant surface on Natura Pro proved useful during the construction phase. It meant that Kier, the contractor on site, avoided the problems that can occur on all busy construction sites where splashes and knocks result in materials stored even for short durations having to be scrapped.

The lighter-coloured Cool Grey was the predominant colour used throughout the scheme, whilst the darker Grey was used to complement the aluminium powder-coated glazing systems. This colour also helped to reduce the visual impact of the darker-coloured rainwater pipes.

"The fibre-cement rainscreen cladding solution from Marley has helped make our original design vision for the school a reality," said Chiji Okeke of Devereux Architects. "Its contemporary appearance, durability and resistance to graffiti means that it will provide the school with a long term, low-maintenance solution."

Bexhill High School uses a mix of concrete panels and steel-frame construction. The Natura Pro rainscreen-cladding solution consists of Natura Pro externally, ventilated cavity, sheathing board, metal-stud construction, 80mm rigid insulation and internal dry-lining or concrete-backing structure, achieving a lightweight, thermally efficient wall U-value between 0.20 and 0.30 W/m2k.

Marley fibre-cement cladding can achieve an A+ rating as defined in the BRE Green Guide to Specification based on generic rating for autoclaved fibre-cement single sheet (Element Ref: 80623042, 806230422, 806230447, 806230450).

Natura Pro is available in a range of colours and a variety of fixing systems to ensure a smooth and clean finish to a building. The practical qualities of the material include class 0 fire-performance, durability, strength and an installed life expectancy of at least 50 years.

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