Colour, light and vision to Belfast

TODD Architects completes Belfast Waterfront conference hall extension using coloured polycarbonate glazing panels from Brett Martin

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Brett Martin Daylight Systems’s Marlon Clickfix1040 polycarbonate glazing panels have been used to create a semi-transparent and colourful facade for the new £29.5 million extension of Belfast Waterfront. The facade is now a key architectural feature of what is set to be a world class international conference facility.

Designed by TODD Architects and built by McLaughin and Harvey in collaboration with McAdams Design, the extension to Belfast Waterfront doubles the venue’s event space, integrating the new purpose built facilities with the existing building.  The new building features an additional 4000m2 conference facility, including a 2000m2 major hall and a minor hall of 750m2. One of the key design considerations for the riverfront project was the seamless integration between the existing building and extension, with Brett Martin’s innovative and thermally efficient glazing system playing a vital role in achieving this aim while helping the addition establish its own identity.

As part of the design, the building's 150m long riverfront facade was wrapped with more than 1750m² of multi-wall polycarbonate. Many of the panels are up to 14m in height. For a glazing system which would not only maximise daylight, but also offer exceptional air tightness, durability and UV stability, Marlon Clickfix1040 proved the most adaptable solution and ensured a fast and straightforward installation for the roofing and cladding contractor Thornton Roofing.

Another key consideration for the project was the colour of the glazing panels, with Brett Martin creating a palate of seven colour samples in a range of tint variations. These were installed at a high level on site to allow the design team to decide on three completely new colours – petrol, viola and glass green –which were each extruded in two different intensities, creating a graduated flow of colour along the elevation. 

Peter Minnis, director at TODD Architects explained: 'The use of Marlon Clickfix1040 polycarbonate glazing panels enabled us to create a stunning variation in colour and transparency so that the facade appears to change during the day, depending on how the light hits the building. Marlon Clickfix1040 was an ideal choice for the riverfront facade as it was offered in a 14m tall panel and it is manufactured locally.'

Offering high levels of light transmission, the polycarbonate panels provide a naturally diffused daylight. Brett Martin worked with the specialist contractor Thornton Roofing and came up with a system for labelling individual panels which were then cut to size, taped and packed onto pallets in the order of installation sequence.

Commenting on the project Peter Hanvey of Brett Martin said: 'The Belfast Waterfront site is constrained by the abutting River Lagan, which restricted the material storage space during construction. This, along with the number of contractors working in the same confined area at any one time made the storage of pallets on site impossible. Brett Martin worked with the contractor to come up with a system that ensured the pallets of Marlon Clickfix1040 material were delivered to site in the correct sequence as and when the sheets were required for installation.'

Central to the Marlon Clickfix1040 system is the lightweight polycarbonate panel with integral interlocking connections that click into place, forming glazed areas of unlimited size and shape. The 40mm structured polycarbonate glazing panel has 10 insulating walls to achieve a U-value of 0.99 W/m2K, for a high performing and thermally efficient glazing solution. It comes with a choice of thermally broken aluminium glazing bar systems depending on the application. The Marlon Clickfix VF glazing bar system has been specifically developed for vertical installations such as facades, partitioning, rain screens and vertically glazed northlights. Marlon Clickfix RL on the other hand has been designed for use in low pitch rooflights and canopies.

Marlon Clickfix1040 provides high quality natural light, superior thermal insulation and UV protection. In addition to the impact resistance, resilience and structural strength that is inherent in all of Brett Martin’s high performance polycarbonate sheet products, it is also lightweight and easy to handle.

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