St Catherine’s Academy and Firwood High School in Bolton

St Catherine’s Academy and Firwood High School in Bolton

Marley fibre cement Natura has been used to clad the new £35 million BREEAM ‘Very Good’ St Catherine’s Academy and Firwood High School in Bolton.

Sheppard Robson specified fibre cement Natura in three different shades of grey to create a contemporary and durable emulation of traditional stone work on the new ‘super school’ building. This appearance was further enhanced by fixing the Natura panels in a vertical configuration to add a contemporary twist.

Natura’s through coloured material allows the texture of the fibres to show through, offering a unique visual appearance which, helped create an appealing and dramatic facade at the new St Catherine’s Academy and Firwood High School.

Jonathan Davis of Sheppard Robson architects said: “We specified a Marley fibre cement facade to represent externally the interconnected blocks of the building. By using three different Grey colours of Natura, with a random arrangement, we were able to emulate the appearance of stone or slate bands and create the degree of articulation that we required.”

Natura is available in a wide choice of colours and finishes. Practical qualities of the material include fire classifications A2-s1, d0 to EN 13501-1, durability, strength and an installed life expectancy of at least 50 years.

The building has been designed as a “super school,” to accommodate the amalgamation of an all-age academy with 1,160 students and a co-located Special Educational Needs (SEN) facility. The aim of the build was to produce a ‘single learning community’ under one roof, with flexible space which can be adapted to the changing needs of the school population.

The Natura panels are secret fixed to Marley’s aluminium frame system using structural adhesive to create a sheer, smooth facade. The rear-ventilated cavity created between the Natura panels and block wall provides the building with enhanced weather performance benefits. The building itself is constructed using double leaf blockwork with 100mm of glass wool insulation within the partial fill cavity. Walls achieved a U-value of 0.28W/m2K.

Marley fibre cement facades 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).

The client on this project was Cross Land Academies and The Church of England Diocese of Manchester. Main contractor was Kier Northern.

Add to Project Board

Create a new project board:



At Marley they believe producing great roof systems is just the start. That’s why their in-house team of experts are on hand to support you with everything you need. You’ll also find a host of tools online, including BIM files, technical literature,...
View company profile

Make an enquiry to Marley

You may also be interested in this related Case Study: Going the extra mile in Lithuania Read Now