Curtain walling, timber skin, fibre cement and self cleaning
1 Polycarbonate sheet, Brett Martin
Despite its exotic name, New York Stadium is actually in the UK’s more prosaic Yorkshire, home to Rotherham United FC. But working on the basis that the nearer you get to the North Pole the thinner daylight becomes, Brett Martin’s transparent Marlon CS profiled polycarbonate sheet roofing should be welcomed by fans. Protecting spectators from the elements, it is also expected to keep the pitch in good condition, encouraging grass growth and helping defrost it in winter. Back of the net!
2 Accoya, James Latham
Now that carbon reduction has taken root at the top of the construction agenda, wood is suddenly very popular with designers, and advances in improving its durability mean it’s being used to clad a lot of new buildings. Following the trend, James Latham, distributor of timber panel products, has added the modified softwood Accoya to its catalogue. Suitable for cladding in various designs and finishes, it is a green alternative where once only non-sustainable materials would do. So timber is out of the woods, in every sense.
3 Building-integrated PV glass, Polysolar
You know how the English are – if we’re not grumbling about the cold then we’re complaining that it’s too hot... and that’s more or less what happened at BRE’s Smart Home on its Innovation Park in Watford. A conservatory taking the whole of one side of the house was intended to warm it with passive solar gain, but that made it far too hot in summer. Luckily Polysolar has installed transparent solar photovoltaic glass on the edifice, which shades, controls solar heat gain and glare, limits heat loss and generates clean renewable electricity too.
4 Self cleaning technology, Toto
Japan’s Toto, best known for its space age loos, has come out of the closet to embrace the public face of buildings. Hydrotect, its self cleaning technology based on photocalysis, seemed too useful to keep holed up in the bathroom so the firm has joined up with Italian manufacturer of large ceramic cladding slabs, Laminam. Hydrotect works by reacting with sunlight and can treat aluminium, paint, glass and even tarpaulins. This isn’t Toto’s first such partnership: flushed with the success of the others... ok, we’ll leave it there.
5 Curtain walling, Wicona
Irish plane spotters gazing through the glazing at Dublin Airport can thank Wicona’s curtain walling for their excellent views of the airside traffic. The award-winning Terminal 2 features the firm’s WICTEC 50 curtain walling system, which also contributes to the building’s low energy credentials. So while the air miles are spilling carbon all around, the terminal itself is a little haven of eco-righteousness and calm.
6 Curtain walling, Senior Architectural Systems
Students at Leeds’ Abbey Grange Academy who might have been hoping for some time off during the school’s refurbishment have been thwarted by the contractor putting in some efficient term-time working. But the 50-year old building will have appreciated the facelift, with new push-casement windows in Senior Architectural Systems’ SCW curtain walling. Differently shaded strips of wood wrap the buildings in a timber ribbon between the glazing, presenting the revamped blocks like long-overdue gifts.
7 Timber skin, Trada
Seat of timber learning Trada has an interesting case study in its aim to educate us in the benefits of wood. Emmanuel College Cambridge has revamped and extended its library with a new sweet chestnut skin, covering the timber-framed learning pods that have been added to its top three storeys to enlarge the existing concrete frame. There’s a sort of poetic balance to the finished project – all those paper books sheathed in a cosy wooden gown.
8 Architectural fibre cement, Marley Eternit
It’s grim up north at Lerwick’s smart Mareel arts centre, where ferocious winds batter one side of the building and inflict suction on the face of the other, making a problem for cladding. But if you’re wondering why anyone wants to go out in such inhospitable conditions, the solid mass of the UK’s most northerly cinema and music venue looks invitingly indestructible. This is at least partly due to Marley Eternit’s Equitone fibre cement cladding, combining ruggedness with a natural looking finish to match the dock it stands on. Less grim than trim, in fact.