Sustainable Curtain Wall Drives Facade Design For New £70m Automotive R&I Hub

Sustainable Curtain Wall Drives Facade Design For New £70m Automotive R&I Hub

The selection of a sustainable façade system from architectural aluminium specialist TECHNAL satisfies the requirement to deliver a sustainable and energy efficient building for the University of Bath’s Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) – a new, world-class automotive propulsion research facility in Bristol, constructed to achieve BREEAM Very Good standard.

The 11,464 m2, two-storey building was designed by architect Stride Treglown who partnered with DKA Architects to realise this ambitious project. Main contractor Rydon constructed it as a single-stage Design and Build contract.

The impressive front elevation façade features TECHNAL GEODE MX curtain wall, which is manufactured using Hydro CIRCAL® 75R recycled aluminium - a prime-quality alloy made with at least 75% recycled post-consumer scrap aluminium - the highest share of recycled aluminium on the market.

Stride Treglown Project Architect, Victor Martos, explains why this was such a smart specification choice when constructing to BREEAM standards: “Originally, we had specified another system but switched to TECHNAL as it uses CIRCAL recycled aluminium and REDUXA low-carbon aluminium, which makes the system very attractive for buildings such as IAAPS that target a high level of environmental performance.”

Fabricated and installed by Bristol-based Architectural Aluminium and Glass Ltd (AAAG) to a planned eight-week delivery programme, the curtain walling combines a linear and an arc section on plan to create a striking faceted façade that runs 43m and is 10m high. The double-height curtain wall joins the rectangular arched entrance at a sliced angle.

Project Architect, Victor Martos talks through the architectural intent, he said: “Aesthetically, it was important for us to highlight the vertical joints over the horizontal joints so as to emphasise the height of the glazing and maintain the architectural proportions with the main entrance arch alongside. The TECHNAL curtain walling system allowed us to achieve this. It is very flexible in terms of the design options for mullions and transoms.”

Vertically, the curtain wall mullions have an additional capping piece or “fin” finished in an Anthracite Grey powder coating (RAL 7016). This extends 200mm beyond and goes all the way from the base to the head of the curtain wall, creating a vertical trame design. On the horizontal, SSG silicone sealant transom joints offer a seamless look. “The fact that the external fins could be self-supported without the need of additional structure or ties was fundamental to achieving the desired verticality,” adds Victor.

AAAG Bristol Estimating Manager Richard Flicker details how the façade was constructed: “Each vertical height section is split into four panels, which alternate between vision glass and lookalike, opaque spandrel panels to conceal the M&E services behind.”

The glass specification is continuous to maintain the same level of reflection and uniformity across the entire curtain wall. It also had to meet thermal requirements, as Richard explains: “Thermally, the façade had to achieve low heat gains through the façade, which meant careful glass specification.

“Following numerous calculations and close discussion between myself and the construction team, Saint Gobain COOL-LITE SKN 154 solar control glass was selected. This offers a low G Factor (0.28) and helps control the amount of heat that penetrates into the building by reflecting it back to the outside.”

The open plan office space behind the floor to ceiling glass panes also contributes to BREEAM Very Good, as Stride Treglown Project Architect, Victor Martos explains: “Ensuring an even distribution of light entering from the north, it reduces the need to use artificial light during the daytime and reduces overall building energy consumption,”

He adds: “Engaging early with specialist suppliers to maintain momentum and quality throughout, meant we could also optimise BREEAM credit opportunities. For example, the external fin feature also assisted in achieving credits regarding the visual comfort and control of glare from sunlight as they provide shade from direct sunlight.”

The new IAAPS facility includes offices, test facilities and control rooms for engines, propulsion, power trains and chassis dyno cells.

The base build of this world-class facility is now virtually complete and is scheduled to open in 2021 once specialist technology installations are complete. The project will support global automotive industries to deliver future generations of advanced propulsion systems and ultra-low emission vehicles.

TECHNAL is part of the Hydro Group, one of the world leaders in aluminium solutions. Through its globally renowned Hydro Technology Hubs, the group is shaping a sustainable future, with innovative products that satisfy and surpass customer expectations, in line with demands of CSR and increasing environmental regulations.

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