Stunning Sheffield school

To meet concerns over daylight, ventilation and health and safety, the design team for a new academy in Sheffield used Technal’s aluminium systems as part of the facade.

The £15 million Academy was built on the site of Sheffield’s former Don Valley athletics stadium, and provides state-of-the-art learning spaces for 1,200 students aged from two to 16.

Designed by Bond Bryan Architects and constructed by BAM Construction (North East), the single building covers 8,000m2 and features: a two-storey nursery and primary academy; a four-storey secondary academy; and a central hub that brings the two together, incorporating facilities for community use.

The basic design of the building is standardised based on modular sections. An elongated, non-standard size, brick slip system creates the basic building envelope and is dominated by Technal-glazed features using 1,500m2 of the company’s MX visible grid curtain walling, FXi 65 windows and CD commercial doors, maximising natural daylight throughout the academy’s buildings.

Bond Bryan project technical Peter Severn said: “The Education Funding Agency’s strict Facilities Output Specification demands high levels of daylighting and natural ventilation, and the fact that schools often want to incorporate blinds can sometimes result in conflict. Blinds are prone to obstructing the opening of windows and tend to flap around causing distraction and posing a health and safety hazard and in a lot of cases, prevent the proper use of the opening lights.

“Collaboration across the design and sub contractor team resulted in a standardised solution that we plan to use for future school specifications. It ensures health and safety requirements are met, delivers a clever solar shading solution, and adds the visual architectural interest that really makes the building.”

Finished in RAL 7015, a slightly lighter shade than anthracite, Technal curtain walling was used to create large fixed glazed sections, meeting the daylighting requirement. In addition, different sized Technal FXi 65 windows are glazed into the curtain wall. At waist height a side-hung opener allows the window to open like a door, while at the top there is a smaller square bottom hung open-in window, fulfilling the opening and ventilation requirement.

Overcoming the health and safety issues, the openable windows sit behind a bright yellow or green, laser-cut aluminium powder coated mesh tray, which is welded into the Technal system, providing safe ventilation. The secondary academy side of the building features a standard RAL yellow while a bright green was used for the nursery and primary elements; the two colours blend in the centre where the community facilities meet.

Technal’s MX curtain walling was also used as bespoke canopy glazing to create covered walkways and a protected external play area for the academy’s nursery and primary areas, which also allows light to flood into the classrooms behind.

At the academy’s main entrance, Technal CD commercial doors, which are suited to high traffic usage areas, were installed. Powder coated to a mid grey, the doors are automated with full access control.

All of the Technal systems were fabricated and installed by Dortech.