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University of Glasgow’s Black Box stands out with BritFab cladding

University of Glasgow’s Black Box stands out with BritFab cladding

The University of Glasgow called upon BritFab to provide cladding for their striking Kelvin Data Centre, also known as ‘The Black Box’, during upgrades to the University’s IT infrastructure.

Their intention was to construct a two-storey building within a constricted site just off University Gardens Lane.

Clad in Dark Rainscreen cladding above a brick plinth, the Centre would be accessed via a single storey entrance annex.

The build sequence began on site in February 2019.

HLM Architects observed in their design statement, “Due to the site constraints and design limitations, the Data Centre essentially becomes nothing more than a “Black box” for storing data. The design does not attempt to disguise the fact but tries to improve what would otherwise be a blank box.

“The ‘Black box’ is articulated to some degree through the diminishing arrangement of the vertical cladding panels, and the addition of a continuous horizontal louvre which wraps around the building, and which is required as part of the mechanical system.

The cladding treatment and the brick base are intended to provide some subtle variation within the blank façade of the Data Halls”.

Britfab Ltd worked closely with HLM Architects to ensure their design was not compromised, and with some minor alterations to suit material constraints, this was realised.

Perforations on some entrance façade panels with the integration of contrasted blue coloured backing trays (RAL5005) has added to the building aesthetics.

Panels shown in the images are generally 2650mm high x varying width modules. Top panels are 420mm wide, with the second level being 630mm and base level being 1260mm wide, giving the required diminishing effect.

Panels were fabricated using Alpolic FR material which carries BBA certification. These were constructed using Britfab ‘BF2/BF3’ Hybrid panels complete with vertical Support grid elements which in turn were supported behind by a composite panel.

Walker Cladding Ltd (Director) Iain Sweden commented: “We are proud to announce the successful completion of the Anthracite Grey Alpolic Cladding at Kelvin Data Centre, Glasgow University. The work was completed ahead of time and we are pleased that all parties involved are delighted with the project. The system supplied by Britfab Ltd was very easy to install particularly with the compact conditions in which we had to operate. We look forward to being involved in any future developments and thank all our construction partners involved.”

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BritFab Ltd

BritFab Ltd

BritFab is a relatively new fabrication company, set up in 2017 in order to service the growing demand for Rainscreeen type construction within the building industry.

Although fairly recently set up, BritFab has a strong, experienced team,...
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 Unit 1, 16 Kyle Road, Irvine, Ayrshire, KA12 8JU


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