Façade systems from architectural aluminium glazing specialist, Technal, have helped the University of Leeds to set a new benchmark for student accommodation in the city.
More than 3,000sqm of Technal’s glazing systems for the new Charles Morris Hall were fabricated and installed by Dortech Architectural in a £1m contract and fast-track programme for design and build contractors Morgan Sindall.
Designed by concept architects Sheppard Robson and delivered by DLA Architecture, the £21m student hall of residence comprises two half-hexagon buildings sited around a central landscaped courtyard, providing 457 hotel-style study bedrooms.
The challenging glazing specification involved the construction of large oriel glazing bays which project 300mm in front of the cladding, and contrasting angular projecting bays to the corners of the two buildings. The oriel bays provide a different architectural feature and an alternative to more conventional recessed panels of glazing.
The floor-to-ceiling glazed units, which maximise natural light, were constructed from Technal’s MX grid curtain walling inset with FXi65 top hung casement windows. Bays in more than 30 different sizes were fabricated and installed to create a less regimented appearance for the building envelope.
Laminated glass made with Vanceva coloured interlayers adds further interest to each façade – in panels of green where the glazing is set into red brickwork on the external elevations, and orange for the courtyard elevations to complement the cream-coloured brick cladding.
The glazing had to provide good thermal performance to contribute to the scheme’s BREEAM ‘very good’ environmental rating, slim sight lines, and be sufficiently robust to achieve the required spans and sharp corners that project beyond the structural supports.
Long runs of MX grid curtain walling using 1500mm modules enclose the common room and the link bridge between the two accommodation blocks. The window units in the common room are linked to the air conditioning system, which allows them to open automatically according to CO2 levels. All the other opening units on the scheme are operated by low-level levers to allow anyone, regardless of any disability, to open the windows.
Set in landscaped courtyard gardens, the new Charles Morris Hall was constructed to replace a 1960s building as part of a major drive to upgrade the University’s student accommodation. The scheme features contemporary décor and high specification ensuite bathroom pods, which reduced time on site. The new hall will also provide hotel-quality accommodation for delegates attending out-of-term conferences at the University.
Technal’s 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 latest Building Regulations.
The 65mm module allows more economical glass specifications to be used, whilst still achieving the targeted U-value. The FXi65 system will also accommodate 17mm up to 48mm glazing units for wider choice to provide additional thermal or acoustic performance. Configuration options include fixed lights, top, side and bottom hung, tilt/turn and tilt/slide.
MX curtain walling is fully compatible with the FXi window suite, and can be used to create a wide 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.
MX Acoustic for additional noise protection and MX62 for larger glass sizes are the latest additions to the extensive range of MX curtain walling options.
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