Business school expansion

The Business School and Growth Hub’s new flagship building on the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls Campus, close to Gloucester’s city centre – where the project team made expressive use of Technal fenestration systems including MX curtain walling – was recently completed.

This latest addition to the campus has been constructed by Willmott Dixon while Austin-Smith:Lord was the architectural practice leading the design team. Vision 2000 is the Cwmbran-based fabricator that manufactured and installed the package of Technal systems, which also includes Technal doors and windows.

The new extension to the state-of-the-art Oxstalls campus represents a £16 million development that accommodates the University of Gloucestershire’s Business, Marketing, Human Resource Management, Law and Accounting and Finance courses as well as University in Business and GFirst LEP.

The project architect for Austin-Smith:Lord, Neil Farquhar, said: “The University of Gloucestershire always wanted the new Business School building to be a showcase for the campus; with an efficient compact form of three storeys that has been developed to maximise its location, signalling its presence from the moment of arrival on the campus.

“As a result of which we worked to express a range of features on the main elevations. This involved not just the treatment of the main entrance, but also views of other areas.

“A triple height atrium forms a central multi-functional gathering space, which is light filled and has a high degree of transparency, aiding inter-connectivity and communication. The atrium links the key spaces of the building including the reception, external terrace and cafe, and is given further activity and interest through the feature stair and Lynn Chadwick sculptures.”

For the atrium Vision 2000 employed the MX Roof System to create four large rooflights – the biggest of which is 8m2 – covering a total area of 140m2.

The building also features lines of clerestory windows atop each elevation, executed using the Technal FY65 system, providing a number of opening lights for natural ventilation. The overall U-value achieved is 1.52W/m2 K.

The first and second floor windows, totalling almost 300m2, were also fabricated using the FY65 system and are coupled together using a special structural mullion section. This carries a special feature cap and supports solar shading.

The curtain wall screens at first and second floor level were fabricated using MX Capped and again carry solar shading, while a 12m x 3m-tall run of feature screens were supplied in MX Toggle.

The ground floor curtain walling again uses MX Capped, with PY and CD doors as well as FY65 windows inset. There are six pairs of doors set within the curtain walling, plus two sets of automatic sliding doors to provide EA compliance.

While all of the frames are finished in a RAL 7016 Dark Grey Matt, the glazing throughout features Pilkington Suncool 50/25 glass for the south, east and west elevations. The specification for the north side switches to Pilkington 66/33 glass. Also, around the ground floor, the IG units contain a toughened laminated inner pane for safety.

Technal’s MX suite of curtain walling profiles offers contractors and consultants the widest set of technical and practical benefits, as well as providing an aesthetic and very durable solution for a variety of project types. The system has been tested to provide excellent wind and weather resistance, as well as thermal performance, beyond the requirements of the Building Regulations, while enabling specifiers to maintain consistent sightlines across complex elevations.

The Oxstalls project is being delivered to BIM Level 2 and is set to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, through use of a number of measures. The ultimate recyclability of aluminium fenestration systems and the creation of natural ventilation within a highly insulated envelope, and heat recovery all contribute to this score.