Project of the Month - Charles Morris Hall, Leeds


Facade systems from TECHNAL helped the University of Leeds set a new benchmark for student accomodation in the city

Project Information

  • Client:                         University of Leeds
  • Architect:                   Sheppard Robson/DLA
  • Fabricator:                 Dortech Architectural
  • Main contractor:       Morgan Sindall
  • BREEAM rating:      Very good       

More than 3,000sqm of glazing systems for 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.

The £21m student hall of residence comprises two half-hexagon buildings sited around a central landscaped courtyard, providing 457 hotel-style study bedrooms.

A Challenging Glazing Specification

The 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 grid curtain walling inset with top-hung casement windows. Dortech fabricated and installed the bays in more than 30 different sizes to create a less regimented appearance for the building envelope.

Laminated glass with 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.          

Thermal Efficiency, Slim Sight Lines and Sharp Corners

The glazing had to provide good thermal performance to contribute to the scheme’s BREEAM ‘very good’ rating, have slim sight lines, and be sufficiently robust to achieve the required spans and sharp corners that project beyond the structural supports.

Long runs of 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 ease of opening of the windows. 

Hotel-quality Accommodation

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.

To work on your next project with BREEAM specification needs, contact us.