In keeping with the landscape

The University of Birmingham’s new Chamberlain Hall Student Accommodation is an example of regeneration that is in keeping with the landscape as well as providing all essential capacity growth for the future.

With the modern financial implications of studying and attracting international students, accommodation needs are changing. The University of Birmingham now has a building which gives good quality architecture and a landmark to Birmingham’s skyline that advertises the quality of the institute to perspective students and their parents.

Feasibility studies indicated that to increasing the density could not be achieved with the existing floor-plan therefore a new building was commissioned. The design concept was to maintain the links to the previous building tower yet create a design that was modern, light; creating a place where students would want to live, socialise and study.

Daylight is vital to aid with studying, and natural ventilation was a must. However, in keeping with the structured facade, open-in windows were required fronted with ventilation panels, to allow ventilation yet not impact on the facade’s integrity.

One of the engineering challenges on the project was the connection of the perforated copper cladding panels to the Comar 6EFT curtain walling. This connection had a few considerations, such as the metals being at opposite ends of the galvanic table, aesthetic demands, thermal performance and the structural considerations of loading panels to Comar 6EFT curtain walling.

Continental Installations worked closely with Comar Architectural Aluminium Systems and main contractor Balfour Beatty on the complex facade. The team designed a bespoke capping profile which was extruded with re-enforced walls capable of fixing the copper panels directly to it.

A heavy duty pressure plate with a fixing port arrangement was used to mechanically fix the capping to the pressure plate. Subsequent regular fixings then transmitted the applied loads back to the rear structural mullion member to ensure there was no thermal bridging. All connections were fully isolated to prevent bi-metallic corrosion.

This bespoke design then included inward full height opening windows that sat behind the facade, Comar 5Pi Advanced Tilt/Turn open in windows were selected, which offer slim sight-lines to maximise daylight.