The award-winning and BREEAM Outstanding Engineering Building at the internationally renowned Lancaster University features a complete range of architectural aluminium glazing systems from pioneering façade specialist, Technal. Currently, Technal is also supplying for the phased refurbishment of the university’s 1960s-built Physics department.

Located on Lancaster University’s campus in the North West of England, the new engineering facility has been designed by leading architectural practice John McAslan + Partners. Awarded Winner, RIBA National Award 2015, amongst other RIBA awards, it was also highly commended by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in the ‘Design through Innovation’ category at its 2016 RICS North West Awards.

Purpose-built to a world-class standard, the scheme comprises 4,701sqm of workshop, laboratory and office space in two concrete-framed blocks either side of a dramatic four-storey atrium.

Using passive techniques to achieve the environmental performance measure of BREEAM ‘outstanding’ in the design assessment, which includes less than the top 1% of UK new non-domestic buildings, the design is in-line with Lancaster University's sustainability and carbon reduction targets.

With this in mind Technal’s technical support team and fabricator LDG Contracts worked alongside main contractor Eric Wright Construction to deliver the most thermally efficient solution, which features Technal’s FXi65 window system, CD doors and MX curtain walling.

With the capability of realising Uw values as low as 1.3w/m²K, over 196 of Technal’s most innovative casement window system, FXi65 have been installed throughout the building, providing outstanding thermal performance. This means the building is more thermally efficient and retains the heat for longer, ultimately reducing the university’s running costs.

Featuring a stylish ‘visible’ opening frame with an infill of up to 52mm for a contemporary finish the FXi65 windows appear as both punched hole and inserts within curtain walling offering varying configurations yet visually-consistent window types across the building.

Furthermore, by specifying Technal’s CD heavy-duty door, LDG Contracts was able to provide a solution perfectly equipped to handle the demands of a high traffic area, such as this educational building. Featured to ground floor thoroughfare locations, the doors are specified as hinged configurations and include single and double leaf options. Offering a flush threshold, ideal for disabled access, the doors are double glazed to BS6262.

Featured throughout the building, 252sqm of Technal’s MX Visible Grid capped curtain walling was selected for its contemporary aesthetics. The system includes concealed vents that allow for natural ventilation without compromising the architectural integrity of the façade.

With natural light being a key specification requirement, MX Visible Grid allowed larger and heavier glazing units to be installed thanks to its superior load distribution, permitting more natural light to flow through the building’s rooms.

Installed to the spanning, entrance screens, 160sqm of MX Trame Verticale curtain walling, also complements the building’s design. Its projecting aerofoil transom caps add depth to the façade whilst the slender face trim gaskets are flush, with the front face of the infill, softening the corresponding sections. LDG Contracts and Technal also worked closely to provide a bespoke top hat along with perforated panel details that complete the stylish facade.

From an installation perspective, the Engineering Building is situated within a tight site, which meant close co-ordination between LDG Contracts and Eric Wright Construction prior to, and during, work on site to ensure the project progressed smoothly. As a result of stage one being managed successfully, the same team is working on the refurbishment of the Physics Building, which also will feature Technal systems.

Stuart Foy, Facilities Senior Project Manager at Lancaster University commented: “We are really pleased with the finished Engineering Building and of course are delighted it’s an award winner – it’s great to see contemporary and traditional architecture working side by side on campus. The new facility offers a vibrant educational setting where students, staff and visitors really get an experience the minute they see the building.”

Chris Coyne, Senior Estimator at LDG Contracts, said: “Having worked with Technal for many years, we often collaborate with the technical support team to overcome challenges like the bespoke top hat required to finish off this project’s curtain walling. The finished building design, with its traditional stone and modern glazing, is so complementary.

“Technal products are of a high quality and deliver in terms of both aesthetics and performance and the range’s variety means we can specify products for almost any kind of project.”