The form of this architecturally clad box is defined by its mass. Its footprint is 16m square and its height 18m, its volume enabling the architect to be playful and creative with the planning of spaces within leading to an interesting external façade fenestration. The architectural intent reflects the modernist Le Corbusier approach with a series of interlocked spaces vertically.
This architectural enclosure is a digital hub housing administration, computer labs, and research facilities over four floors. The fifth floor houses the plant room and an open terrace. A two storey gallery is located at ground floor level with a restaurant at fourth floor level.
The façade fenestration consists of flush architectural glazing into trespa rainscreen cladding.
Each elevation has a distinct rhythm reflecting the activities within. The architectural glazing varies in size and scale but there is a common consistency in the setting out of mullions vertically and transoms horizontally.
The glazing workpackage included:
- Capped curtain walling with flush framed opening sashes.
- Structurally clamped disk glazing.
- Frameless glazing.
- Parapet pressings.
- Secondary steelwork.
- Stainless steel entrance cladding.
This modern architectural façade envelope solution reflects an increasing trend in flush architectural detailing. Flush to the face of the rain screen cladding, the curtain walling sits within the cavity of the rain screen. The physical position of the façade glazing generated specific challenges in its detailing and construction with respect to thermal transmittance and weathering.
In this instance the perimeter framing members were wrapped in insulation onto which a rubber membrane was installed. The membrane was welded at each corner and its front face turned and glazed into the glazing rebate.
The curtain wall system is drained through gargoyles located at the centre line of the transom ensuring that there is no ingress below this point.
The trespa rainscreen is drained and ventilated. Joint sizes are typically 8mm open jointed with no protection.
Water ingress is controlled within the rainscreen cavity by its depth. The cavity is ventilated at each joint. The installed fire breaks have drainage hole to allow water pass vertically.
Fire stopping is located horizontally at each floor and 600mm from each vertical corner.
The backing wall comprises of a steel frame structure and fair face block infill. 100m insulation is fixed onto its outside face onto which a breather membrane is secured.
The rails supporting the rainscreen are attached to preformed clips and are staggered within the cavity space.
The biggest challenge on this project was the physical setting out of the curtain wall grid ahead of the rainscreen cladding installation. Tolerance is always an issue in construction and in this instance our objective was to ensure
- Each face of the cube glazing was square.
- Each vertical face was plumb.
- Glazing within each face was set to the agreed level and to an agreed gridline.
A site survey is always essential particularly with flush detailing as discrepancies in tolerance can be identified and the setting out adjusted to achieve the end result. Sightlines are critical to the overall aesthetics.
All the units to this project are 28mm overall comprising of 6mm low iron glass toughened/ 16mm warm edge spacer / 6mm low e soft coat.
Structurally clamped units are silicon sealed, fritted to face two held in position with circular disks at defined positions. Each unit is independently procured for the gallery glazing.
The frameless glazing at roof level is 13.5 toughened/ laminate, two edge supported captivated into standard curtain walling.