A health centre in Belfast incorporating architectural aluminium glazing systems from Technal, has won a major award for architecture.

The Arches, a £15m community health and social services centre, has been presented with a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Award. The scheme features innovative use of Technal’s systems, including around 100 windows in different colour combinations, frame and span sizes. The centre was designed by Penoyre and Prasad LLP, with Todd Architects as executive architects.

The RIBA Awards were presented at a dinner in London’s Hilton Hotel during Architecture Week. The winning projects will be competing for the RIBA Stirling Prize to be announced in October.

Commenting on The Arches project, the judges said, “……a skilled design team has redefined healthcare buildings. This unique scheme will be much visited as a guide for the future, not to be copied, but as an inspiration on how to create architecture by continually pushing boundaries and challenging preconceptions.”

Bob Welsh, General Manager of Hydro Building Systems which supplies the Technal brand, said, “This building has a lively design theme and the colourful windows and curtain walling were central to that. The systems were capable of achieving the architect’s requirements for aesthetics and large spans to allow a high level of light deep into each room, with all the low maintenance benefits of aluminium.”

A ‘stained’ glass façade constructed from Technal’s curtain walling spans three storeys above the main entrance. The double glazed units are structurally bonded to the curtain walling system to give the appearance of one large pane of glass. An abstract image of a flower, signifying regeneration, growth and health, was printed onto vinyl film and applied to the inner face of the double glazed units.

Dual colour tilt/turn casement windows were supplied by Technal from the FXi46 suite and finished in a variety of colours – grey, red, blue, black and purple – contrasting with the white rendered external envelope. Internally the frames are white, with the opening vents taken from the palette of colours.

Polyester powder coated infill panels were inserted into the window frames and were also finished in different colours, creating an animated and dynamic appearance. The windows, which have mullions of varying sizes, were 2.4m high for the front elevation and used as 1.5m high units in 11m long runs to the rear of the building.

Trame Verticale curtain walling encloses the three-storey circular stairwell. The system was glazed in dark grey anti-sun glass, silver caps accentuate the vertical lines to further balance the building, and concealed vents allow natural ventilation.

The Arches accommodates seven GP practices and brings together treatment, care and information services which were previously provided from a large number of buildings across east Belfast. These services include speech therapy, dentistry, district nursing, physiotherapy, homecare, health visiting and citizens advice.

RIBA Award Winner

RIBA Award Winner