Curtains for science annexe

High specification curtain walling fabricated using Technal MX Grid system has been used in the construction of a new science annex at the University of Manchester.

Working alongside Dortech, the fabricator, Technal provided excellent energy and acoustic performance, while contributing to the visual appeal of the building.

The Schuster Annex on the University of Manchester’s main campus is intended to become a catalyst for excellence in STEM teaching, and is linked to the circulation spaces within the existing building. Designed by Hawkins Brown, and constructed by Willmott Dixon, the annex forms part of the new masterplan.

Dortech is the fabricator responsible for supplying an integrated package of Technal systems, which also includes FXi65 aluminium windows.

James Sutherland, managing director of Dortech, said: “We were awarded the contract for the Schuster Annex by Willmott Dixon, following a competitive tender process; with our package including a number of striking design features.

“These included 1,000m2 Technal MX Thermally Broken Curtain Wall with 200mm extending face caps as well as the FY65  ‘punched-hole’ windows in RAL 7043 Traffic Grey, plus some 1,500m of aluminium flashings. The glazing units feature the use of SGG Cool-Lite SKN 14 glass with digitally printed artwork.”

While the 8mm Cool-Lite outer leaf provides solar control, the thermal performance of the IG units also benefits from an argon filled 18mm cavity and a 10.8mm thick inner leaf of coated laminated glass. The glazing specification, along with the design of thermally broken framing system, also deliver a sound reduction of 40dB or more without special enhancement.

Willmott Dixon’s project manager James Goodwin said: “This was a challenging project, not least because of the building’s proximity to a main road and the Manchester Royal Infirmary with ambulances and other emergency services going past all the time. In terms of the acoustics, the transfer of noise, it has performed wonderfully well. Also, the Technal systems meet all of the thermal insulation requirements while, aesthetically, it looks fantastic. Everyone is pleased with the completed project.”

Completed last year at a cost of approximately £11 million, The Schuster Annex provides some 2,500m2 of space across its four floors, with what has been named the ‘Ideas Mill’ and break out spaces at ground level.

It has been delivered to BIM Level 2 and uses a high value, passive approach to help achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating within a tightly controlled budget. Among the factors targeted in the design were air quality, the availability of natural light and good thermal comfort throughout the building. As one of the world’s most recycled materials, using aluminium curtain wall and window systems will assist in gaining BREEAM points, while Hydro Group can offer customers products manufactured from billets certified as 100% recycled.