Doing the knowledge

Technal glazing systems have been employed by Dortech Architectural Systems for the construction of the new Materials Innovation Factory (MIF) located within the University of Liverpool’s ‘Knowledge Quarter’.

The 11,600m2, £multi-million project has been led by BAM Construction, with Dortech Architectural Systems having designed, manufactured and installed a package of products that included MX62 curtain walling, as well as FXi windows and CD Doors.

The research building, now completed and handed over, is made visually more striking by the way the project architects, Fairhursts Design Group, have combined the use of the different Technal systems to create the main facades, as well as a link structure to the existing Donnan Building, further enhancing the appearance of the curtain wall in one area through the addition of bespoke feature caps.

Fairhursts’ designs have created a central, four-storey atrium above which Dortech Architectural Systems installed a continuous run of MX52 sloped roof glazing, together with FXi 65 actuated opening vents. As well as bringing ample natural sunlight to the central realm of the building, these automatic opening vents will help create a safe escape route in a fire emergency.

They are glazed with argon-filled 31.5 mm IG units containing a 6mm heat-soaked, toughened outer leaf and a 9.5mm laminated inner pane, protecting people below from any risk of breakages.

The MX62 curtain walling on the north and south elevations, together with the link corridor, contain 34.8mm units made up of 8mm toughened and 10.8mm laminated inner leaf, separated by a 16mm argon-filled cavity.

The site manager for Dortech Architectural Systems, Andrew Moseley, said: “We have done several projects recently with BAM – establishing a very good relationship with the company. For MIF starting in spring the installation took 52 weeks, before which we had carried out the majority of the detailed design work for the glazing systems, including the MX 62 Grid, and worked with Technal on the supply of the special caps. CD double doors and one single door, all for emergency egress, complete the package.”

MX62 gives specifiers an additional option of a 62mm module for the MX Visible Grid vertical facade system, allowing larger sized glazed units to be accommodated, maximising daylight transmission.

The design offers a straightforward assembly with a single pressure plate, behind the horizontal and vertical caps, able to accommodate glazing units from 8mm to 44mm thick within a flat facade. There is also the option of steel reinforcement to further strengthen the curtain wall or increase spans.

Structurally bonded, top hung concealed vents can be supplied for 36mm and 42mm glazing, while incorporating specific insert profiles will also allow the Technal PXi commercial door system and FXi casement windows to be incorporated within the grid.

Referring to the glazing in the context of this project, the executive associate on the project for Fairhursts Pam Chapman said: “We have used Technal systems on a frequent basis before on different projects. In the case of MIF, the way the manufacturer responded to our brief in producing the extra deep detail employed on the curtain wall around the main entrance definitely met our design objectives. We were very pleased with it and the outcome for the project overall.”