Imperial College installation

Modular or off-site curtain walling by Kawneer played a key role in a building which forms the centrepiece of Imperial College London’s new White City campus.

The bespoke, twin-skin and triple-glazed ventilated curtain walling, based on Kawneer’s unitised AA201 system, features on the main south elevation of the Molecular Sciences Research Hub (MSRH) in the college’s first new campus in over a century.

Designed for fast-track installation, it has been used alongside a single-skin version of the AA201 curtain walling on the north facade and features AA720 fixed light casement windows and AA720 commercial entrance doors. The AA720 range is Kawneer’s most thermally efficient, the company said.

The 26,000m2 building, designed by Aukett Swanke, was initially delivered as a shell and core scheme in late 2016, alongside the new Translation and Innovation Hub as part of the college’s second-phase £110 million development.

The brief called for a building of about 25,000m2, and the design evolved to three main transitional forms in stepped-in massing which respond to sensitive, key axial views from the residential areas to the east in North Kensington. The west and east facades employ modular panels of reconstituted stone while the south facade maximises daylight penetration into the U-shaped plan form with Kawneer’s full storey-height curtain walling.

The factory-fabricated twin-skin curtain walling used here technically responds to the southern orientation and solar path but also provides noise attenuation from the nearby elevated Westway and the West London railway lines immediately to the east.

The north elevation employs Kawneer’s more conventional single-skin AA201 curtain wall. The nine-storey stepped building form also features a dramatic full-height glazed atrium.