Contemporary exterior

Bringing a tired 1970s landmark office building back to life, architectural aluminium systems from Technal have been installed at Nine Bond Court in Leeds to create the high specification and contemporary exterior this prestigious commercial address deserves.

Located in the heart of Leeds’ Commercial Quarter, 12-storey Bond Court, which provides approximately 60,000ft2 of office accommodation, has been a city centre landmark building since it was built in 1976, originally housing insurance company Royal Sun Alliance.

Constructed, in its day, to a very high standard, the Tudor brick and Baltic Brown granite external envelope, coupled with original bronze-coloured glazing and brown back painted spandrel panels, epitomised the design of this controversial architectural era. So much so, its dominant appearance led people to refer to it as ‘the brown building’.

The latest phase of improvement to the building has been designed by Leeds-based Think Architecture + Design, and involved the comprehensive refurbishment of the external envelope. Particular consideration has been given to the fenestration and entrance arrangement.

The new facade features Technal’s MX Visible Grid curtain wall system to create floor to ceiling glazing, maximising natural daylight.

Project architect and director of Think Architecture + Design Jonathan Wilson said: “The original single glazed aluminium windows featured small panes of bronze tinted glass, which not only cut out daylight but absorbed the sun and radiated back into the building making the building a challenge from a heating and ventilation perspective. The old windows had deteriorated and leaked air too, so were draughty.

“To create the new facade the design team agreed to remove the solid dado wall internally to allow floor to ceiling windows to be installed to increase daylight and give the building a contemporary feel. At the corners to the building the first thoughts were to introduce a full height glass to glass joint; however, after review it was agreed to introduce a corner mullion and then install a large window adjacent in order to take full advantage of the high level views over Leeds.

“Technal offers a good range of systems and it was its MX system that was selected to house the floor to ceiling height, clear solar control glazing. Typically, the vision unit sizes were 2.7m high x 1.2m wide with the corner units 2.7m high x 2.3m wide. Also, we were meticulous about choosing exactly the right grey for the frames, opting for a dark grey powder coated finish. Smaller lookalike spandrel panels were also installed in a more neutral grey colour.”

Technal’s MX curtain walling and automated double CD commercial doors with an additional single exit door were installed to ground and first floor level adjacent to the building’s reception area, creating an impressive double height entrance with mullions spanning 7m in height.

Also featured on the project are Technal’s FXi65 top hung windows, which replaced existing windows like for like.