Harper Adams University College, Shropshire

Architect: Aedas Architects
Fabricator: Spec-Al Design
Products: MC curtain walling, FXi65 casement windows

A new learning resources centre at Harper Adams University College in Shropshire is at the forefront of a Government initiative to improve the environmental performance of new education buildings. The scheme incorporates a range of glazing systems, including the new FXi65 window – Technal’s most technically advanced window, which helps to deliver more energy efficient buildings.

The pioneering Bamford Library meets much of the criteria outlined in the DfES’ Sustainable Development Action Plan for Education and Skills, including better performance in water and energy usage, the use of timber and other construction materials, and waste reduction. The centre has a computer-controlled environmental management system that naturally ventilates the building using actuator-controlled Technal windows and roof lights.

Rendered blockwork is punctuated with a variation of MC curtain walling that uses distinctive aerofoil caps for horizontal emphasis across the façades to the teaching areas, library and some offices. Narrow, 7m high panels of MC curtain walling also allow some rooms to have the benefit of light from dual aspects, creating a bright and changing interior environment. The mullions of the curtain walling to the south elevation also support brise soleil sunshading.

The learning resources centre was designed to complement the existing buildings on the campus, using both traditional and modern materials in a contemporary way. The curtain walling was seen as a key element to express the building’s modern and ‘engineered’ appearance.