This building, commissioned to house London South Bank University's built environment students, is clearly a design to inspire the construction industry's next generation of professionals.
Built on the university's Southwark site, it's most striking features are a unique facade and atrium. The atrium is 7.5 m wide and has a mixture of wooden terraces and all-timber structures known as treehouses. These are an extension of the floors and straddle the atrium. They are supported by the floor on one side and the facade on the other and allow students to enjoy the views through the facade during breaks.
The facade is unique in that, despite being 33 m high and 30 m wide, it is self-supporting. A laminated wood product called LVL was used to create the structure, which is based on a 7.5 m2 repeating timber grid. However, because panels this size couldn't be glazed, this has been subdivided with secondary timber elements to create a 2.5 m wide grid.
The architect wanted to fit the glass directly into the timber frame but, as this wasn't possible, a discreet curtain wall mirroring the timber structure has been placed in front of it. The facade's lateral restraint is provided by visually dramatic timber spars tying it back to the building's floor plates with some of the lateral forces passed through timber pods.
Now the building is finished, it has proved highly popular across the university. Such is its demand in fact, that it has become a teaching space for other departments too.
Beam me up
Architectural fabrication specialist Metalline has launched a mock beam for building facades. The "feature beam" is made from pressed aluminium or stainless steel sheets and looks like a normal beam, but at a fraction of the cost and weight. Mitred and welded corners or complex cruciforms can be used at junctions where horizontal and vertical runs meet. It is available in metallic or plain colours, and in powdercoated, anodised, PVF2 or polished finishes.
No-weld steelwork fixing
Access Technologies has launched a product for fixing primary steelwork to secondary steelwork without the need for welding or drilling. It works by clamping two plates onto a flange when a series of bolts are tightened. The system is suitable for repairing cladding, steel flooring or temporary access runway beams. The fixings include beam to beam, channel to beam and strut to beam, with other connections available.
Thicker glass for bigger panels
Glass giant Pilkington has developed a 23 mm thick version of its Pyrostop fire-resistant glass. It is intended to allow large panels of glass to be used and offers up to 60 minutes integrity and insulation in panels up to 1459 mm x 2895 mm. The glass has an interlayer that turns opaque in a fire. This blocks heat and also acts as a pointer for the fire's location. It is suitable for facades, doors, windows and partitions.
Curtain walling for big jobs
Kawneer has launched a curtain walling system aimed at buildings with large column spans and floor slab movement. The 1612 system has a robust 63.5 mm wide box-section frame. And can accommodate glass with a thickness of between 4 mm and 37 mm, and solid panels of between 4 mm and 39 mm. The 1612 system is available in 130 standard and 31 metallic powder-coated finishes.
Crisp finish for clifftop hotel
Sto's insulated render system has been used on a hotel in Nottingham. Harts Hotel is situated on a high cliff face and is exposed to severe weather conditions. As it also located near to Georgian terraces and a partly rendered apartment block, the architect Marsh Grochowski decided an externally insulating wall system was the most appropriate solution. StoTherm Classic was used in four shades of grey to give the hotel a modern, sophisticated look that blended in with its surroundings.
Superwarm cladding system
Distributor Stoakes Systems has brought out Kalwall Plus, a product that combines Kalwall light-diffusing cladding with insulating material Nanogel. It is intended to be nearly as thermally efficient as a solid wall. Kalwall is a composite product made from an aluminium frame sandwiched inbetween sheets of translucent GRP. It provides a diffuse, glare-free light and eliminates the need for curtains as it provides privacy and resists solar gain. Nanogel is a high-tech material made from silica aerogel, originally developed for the science and aerospace industries for its insulating properties. It is 95% air and is embedded in the Kalwall panels. The combination is said to offer a U-value of 0.28 W/m2K, which is as good as a solid wall.
Rainbow of rainscreen cladding
Eternit Building Materials has added 12 wood styles to its Lamina range of high-pressure laminate rainscreen cladding panels. They are suitable for applications including over-cladding, fascias and soffits, balconies and infill panels.
The range now has 62 finishes including grey, black, light and dark hardwood, Sahara, Burma teak, dark field, natural oak, light cherry, mahogany, natural beech and summer apple.
All the products are coloured on both sides.
Eternit Building Materials
Add colour to your corners
Brick manufacturer Ibstock has launched a range of glazed, coloured bricks. The bricks are suitable for accents, details and features and are available in standard size with either glazed stretchers or glazed stretchers and headers. The bricks come in gloss green, black, white, blue, yellow or burgundy. The company also offers the same colours in its Fireborn-glazed terracotta range for specifiers who want a choice of larger sizes.