Modern feature to historic school

When architect dhp was asked to design the new accommodation for St Richard Reynolds Catholic College in Twickenham, its brief was to turn an historic Edwardian school building into a cutting-edge education facility.

Led by main contractor Graham Construction, work is now underway on a three-storey building at the centre of the site, which will wrap around the rear of the existing building, forming a large courtyard at the heart of the school.

The whole scheme is designed to encourage social interaction and create a sense of openness that will foster a collegiate, campus feel to the school.

Contributing to this, and adding an ultra-modern touch to the new building, is a three-storey wall of structural glass enclosing a reception, atrium and stairwell.

The installation will be created using the Pilkington Planar system to deliver a frameless, continuous glass wall that will be uninterrupted save for minimal stainless steel fittings to hold the panes in place and maintain the structural integrity.

The system requires the structural strength provided by a series of engineered glass fin supports, built up of three layers of toughened glass laminated together to deliver very high levels of resistance to mechanical forces, which run vertically across the whole height of the wall.

The glass itself is Pilkington Optiwhite low-iron glass that delivers a high level of clarity, but, while the glass will present almost no barrier visually, its design means it will play a big role in the energy performance of the building.

The system is triple-glazed and its high-performance Pilkington Suncool 70/40 coating helps to reduce heating costs. It combines good solar control performance with high thermal insulation, while maintaining the transparency of the glass due to its low external reflection.

Phil Savage, commercial contracts manager at Pilkington UK, said: “The combination of triple-glazed units, the solar control coating, the three-layer laminated fins and the ultra-clear low-iron glass results in a wall of glazing that is uncompromising in its clarity and energy performance.”