A new learning resources centre, which is at the forefront of a Government initiative to improve the environmental performance of new education buildings, has been opened at Harper Adams University College in Newport, Shropshire. Designed by Aedas Architects, the scheme incorporates a range of glazing systems from architectural aluminium specialists Technal, including their new FXi65 window.
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.
The FXi65 window system incorporates a 19mm flush polyamide thermal break and innovative gasket detailing to offer enhanced thermal performance. It is Technal’s most technically advanced window to date and helps to deliver more energy efficient buildings.
The new two-storey centre has a timber-frame construction from the first floor, which is exposed internally, and a clay tiled pitched roof with a timber-clad apex and stepped edges. Rendered blockwork is punctuated with a variation of Technal’s 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 houses Harper Adams’ library, open access IT facilities, the university’s Engineering Design Centre and a central ‘street’ which accommodates a café and exhibition space. It 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.
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