The new state-of-the-art National Breeding Centre for Guide Dogs, which features extensive use of Technal’s aluminium window, door and curtain walling systems, has won its first award.


Designed by Broadway Malyan and built by Morgan Sindall, the project at Bishops Tachbrook near Leamington Spa has won the RICS Award for Community Benefit (West Midlands region). It is the Guide Dogs’ largest development to date and is providing additional capacity to increase the breeding of puppies to 1,500 per annum.


The scheme comprises a series of interconnected gull wing buildings situated around a central courtyard, accommodating the centre’s dog breeding population, from the initial intake of dogs, mating, whelping, adults, puppies and the associated dog care and welfare facilities. Replacing an existing set of buildings, which dates back to the 1960s when the breeding programme was founded, it also provides public viewing areas, offices and staff living accommodation.


Each of the nine buildings on the site had a different curtain walling or window specification, resulting in a complex range of sizes, configurations and glazed units, including low E, solar control, laminated and toughened glass.


Fabricated and installed by Elite Aluminium Systems, Technal’s GEODE-MX Visible Grid curtain walling system was used to deliver high levels of natural light to the areas accommodating the dogs and puppies, and the offices. It has created shaped ribbon clerestory glazing, main entrances and other curtain wall screens, contrasting with white render, cedar cladding and profiled metal cladding and roofing.


Technal’s FXi65 casement windows feature as both punched hole configurations and curtain wall inserts for natural ventilation.  The CD commercial door system provides the automatic sliding doors to the entrances and was set into a rebated frame for the areas housing the doors to the kennels.


Commenting on the glazing requirements for the project, Kevin Harnett, Project Architect at global architecture, urbanism and design practice, Broadway Malyan, said, “We were looking for a range of glazing systems that would have a contemporary appearance and offer good thermal performance. We have used Technal’s products on other projects so know them to be proven systems.”


“The curtain walling, windows and doors have delivered exactly what we wanted for the project and the materials have come together very well.”


The FXi65 casement window system features curved profiles and delivers superior thermal efficiency using a 19mm flush polyamide thermal break and innovative gasket detailing to meet or exceed the revised Building Regulations.  The 65mm module will accommodate 17mm up to 48mm glazing units for wider choice to provide even greater thermal or acoustic performance.  Configuration options include fixed lights, top, side and bottom hung, tilt/turn and tilt/slide.


GEODE-MX curtain walling is fully compatible with the FXi window suite, 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-MX Acoustic for additional noise protection and GEODE-MX62 for larger glass sizes are the latest additions to the extensive range of curtain walling options.


The National Breeding Centre project had to meet strong sustainability objectives to minimise its required carbon footprint.  Features include the orientation of the buildings to maximise natural lighting, rainwater harvesting for washing down kennel areas, and biomass boilers for heating. The buildings are also designed to be open plan for long-term flexibility, allowing them to be reconfigured according to the charity’s changing future requirements.


Photography Broadway Malyan/David Cox