Architectural aluminium glazing systems from Technal have been specified by RCKa Architects for a new Technology Centre for De La Rue – the world’s largest integrated commercial bank note printer. The project at Overton Mill in Hampshire also included extensive refurbishment of an existing 1980s office building to house the new research facility.
The brief for the scheme was to create a distinctive, world-class building with a modern façade that would better reflect De La Rue’s aspirations as a leading global organisation, stimulate innovation and interaction, and blend well into its rural surroundings. The new three-storey wing to the south east elevation has provided a state-of-the-art centre for the development of new products and security features. It accommodates a series of secure laboratories, open-plan offices with expansive views, and a visitor’s suite. The main contractor was Thomas Vale Construction and RCKa Architects worked in collaboration with workspace designers, David Leon & Associates.
The building’s contemporary design has a sculptural form which features deep reveals and projecting sills to provide shade from the sun in summer and to allow high levels of natural daylight during the winter months. And by recycling and converting an existing facility, the client gained a brand new research centre to encourage collaboration and innovation, for significantly less than the cost of a new building.
Fabricated and installed by ADP Aluminium Systems, Technal’s GEODE-MX62 curtain walling, FXi65 casement windows and CD commercial doors were specified for both the new wing and the refurbished building.
The fenestration of the technology centre was designed to unify both the new and existing parts of the scheme and to reflect the activities inside – the ground floor of the extension has a solid ‘plinth’ with smaller FXi65 casement windows for privacy where research activities take place. The two upper floors have large spans of curtain walling to maximise natural light where the office spaces and facilities for visitors are sited. The GEODE-MX62 system was also used to enclose a new double height entrance lobby for the main brick-clad building, allowing views up to the top floor.
Technal’s FXi65 ribbon windows replaced the original steel windows which had reached the end of their life, radically improving the building’s thermal efficiency and reducing heat loss. The new systems have a projecting top hung configuration with fixed lights and were all internally glazed.
A continuous white monolithic render was specified for both the new wing and the entrance lobby of the main building – a material regularly used for residential properties locally and which emphasises the changing light conditions through the day. Technal’s façade systems were polyester powder coated in dark grey to contrast with the white render.
Commenting on the glazing specification, Russell Curtis, Project Architect at RCKa Architects, said, “The original building had deteriorated badly and had limited architectural quality. Our aim was to create a new wing that would enhance the appearance of the site, create a more sustainable, productive working environment, and better reflect the values of De La Rue as a leading global research organisation.”
“Technal’s façade systems met our requirements for cost efficiency, consistency of appearance, aesthetics, thermal performance and the GEODE-MX62 curtain walling option could achieve large spans with narrow sight lines to maximise natural light. We are very pleased with how the fenestration solution has unified both the existing and new elements of the building.”
“Technal’s assistance with the specification made the facade design process very straightforward, despite its complexity, and we are very happy with their team’s technical input. We would definitely consider specifying these systems for future schemes. The success of the overall project is testament to the vision of the client and the project team.”
Technal’s GEODE-MX curtain walling is fully compatible with the FXi casement window suite for ease of specification and installation, and can be used to create a variety of architectural compositions from a single grid system – low to high rise façades, horizontal or vertical emphasis, and ribbon, structural, faceted, beaded and sloped glazing.
GEODE-MX62 curtain walling allows building designers to accommodate larger dimensions and increase natural light. The option features a 62mm module, and a maximum weight of 600kg per transom can be specified – compared to up to 400kg for the standard Visible Grid curtain wall. This enables architects and contractors to achieve even larger glass sizes to help reduce the reliance on artificial lighting, and meet their sustainability objectives.
MX62 is available in three mullion/transom sizes – 80mm, 140mm and 200mm for further design flexibility, and will accommodate 8mm to 44mm glazing as a flat façade. Structurally-bonded top hung concealed vents can be supplied for 36mm and 42mm glazing, allowing natural ventilation whilst maintaining a frameless appearance to make the sections of the vents indistinguishable from the curtain wall when in a closed position.
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