Sirius Academy, Hull

Architect: Aedas
Main contractor: Balfour Beatty Construction
Products: MODAL low rise glazing, integral opening vents, fixed lights, GXi sliding door


Sirius and Ganton Academy is a dynamic 21st century learning environment created to accommodate state-of-the-art facilities in Hull. It is also the UK’s first academy to be constructed using Technal’s revolutionary low rise glazing system.


Designed by Aedas and built by Balfour Beatty Construction, this £48m Hull National Academies Framework project has replaced Pickering High School and Ganton Special School.



A Visionary Scheme


This visionary new education campus provides an inclusive, student-centred community that includes a 1,650-place academy, specialist support for 40 pupils with visual and hearing impairments, and a special school for 88 pupils with special needs.


Around 4,000sqm of Technal’s MODAL aluminium low rise façade system have been used across the campus – the largest application of this innovative new product in the UK to date.


MODAL – An Innovative Modular Design


Finished in grey with grey glass and contrasting white windows, MODAL features on every elevation of this oval-shaped building, both as fixed lights and with a slim integral opening vent to minimise sight lines.  Vertical aerofoil caps provide shade from the sun and Technal’s robust GXi balcony door which is fully integrated with MODAL, was also specified.


MODAL is a rapid-build façade system – and is the first in the UK to offer integral opening vents.  It has an innovative modular design, which reduces work on site, installation time, and gives specifiers a much wider choice of configuration options.



Strong Sustainability Credentials


The scheme achieved a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating for the design stage.  Features designed to minimise its impact on the environment include:


  • Biomass boilers
  • A wind turbine
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • An air source heat pump
  • Natural ventilation
  • Highly glazed elevations to maximise natural light.


Comments from the Design and Construction Team


Chris Le-flohic of architects Aedas:


“The MODAL system is an exceptionally good product for the application and has proved to be faultless on this project.  Our specification was for a glazing system that would maximise natural light, and accommodate large floor-to-ceiling spans of glass without bulky frames. It also had to co-ordinate with the rainscreen cladding.”


“The system is highly versatile, has accommodated the shape of the building well, and has helped us to achieve a high light ratio.  It is sufficiently robust for a demanding secondary school environment, has effective thermal performance to minimise heat loss and gain, and has delivered high levels of acoustic protection, which are important as the site is located near a busy road.”



John Cowie, Design Manager, Balfour Beatty Construction:


“The MODAL system allowed us to keep the frame weight and size to a minimum for both aesthetics and natural light.  It has the benefit of a fully integrated opening vent that reduces the visible aluminium as an effective alternative to inserting a window into curtain walling.”



A Positive Impact on the Local Community


The new academy is set to make a lasting impression on the local community, with its creative design for a bright and modern learning environment.  Its diverse facilities include performing arts and dance studios, a hair and beauty salon, external construction workshop, industrial-standard food technology rooms, and ICT-rich specialist rooms.


To download a technical brochure for MODAL, see

aluminium low rise glazing


aluminium low rise glazing

aluminium low rise glazing


aluminium low rise glazing

images © Balfour Beatty