Who's wearing what this season on the buildings catwalk
Profile 6 sheet
Skye’s Rural Design Architects are speaking the vernacular with their specification of Marley Eternit cladding for this self-built three-bed family home in the island’s crofting village of Fiskavaig. The practice’s Gill Smith describes the project as ‘inspired by rural, agricultural sheds’ – and the black Profile 6 sheeting’s good looks, corrosion resistance, cost-efficiency and ease in both use and sourcing make it a rustic choice that is as accommodating as an ambitious eighteenth century milkmaid to a wrinkled laird.
Kalwall translucent glazing
Imagine what you could get up to in this leisure facility at Immingham in Lincolnshire, your ‘activities’ masked in daytime by diffused natural light. Kalwall’s shell-like looks are brought to us by prismatic glass, and a thoroughly satisfying Economy Seven bill. Lit inside and glowing in the darkness, it frees user’s hands up so you wouldn’t even need a torch to search out the poolhouse for that late night skinnydip. Just don’t do anything too interesting close to the wall unless you want to star in your own Chinese lantern show.
Alsecco Airtec natural stone
Stone cladding’s come a long way since I were a lad. Indeed, Lithodecor’s Airtec ‘neat and crisp’ surface-mounted Portland stone has gone so far up in the world that it’s being installed on this cocky development slap bang up against an increasingly tiny grade I-listed Tower Bridge. So next time you’re caught in the traffic jam that’s invariably created when the bridge shows its moves, close your eyes and think Portland Bill instead of muddy Thames – a moment’s peace amid the noise and haste.
Dry glaze system
Shall I regale you with stories of 100% Stainless Ltd’s 48mm slotted stainless handrail? Or the 15mm glass specified from a choice of everything from 12mm to 21.52mm? Maybe I should I tell you of the 15mm top mount heavy duty aluminium base shoe and rubber gaskets used to secure CR Laurence’s sleek Taper-Loc dry glaze system? Shall I wax lyrical about the speedy, adjustable and dismantlable installation? Or should I just leave you to admire this lucky client’s Devon view, unruffled by the strongest Atlantic gale? Yes. Thought so.
Penrhyn Heather Blue slate
Students bedding into the new term are starting with a clean slate at Newcastle University, kept dry by 32,000 newly quarried Welsh slates lustrous in their laminations. The project found itself between a rock and a hard place when the sheer scale of this high-end 350-bedroom project, a combination of new build and period refurbishment, made the original spec of reclaimed roofing slates unworkable, so an army of old boys up in Bangor’s badlands were prised from their easy chairs and set to work with hammer and chisel. Tidy.
Azengar zinc cladding
Given Cambridge’s associations with Nobel Prize winning discoveries like the electron, artificial nuclear fission and the structure of DNA, it’s strange we now seem more interested in fiction than fact. Maybe we’ve just gone all Philip Pullman and ‘string theory’ sounds less enticing than Voldemort, the Alethiometer or Sauron. Similarly VM Zinc has thrown in its lot with other worlds with its CS Lewis-sounding AZENGAR engraved zinc cladding in two finishes for Rutherford labs’ new Maxwell Centre – offering the aware parallel readings.
The old BBC Television Centre is clearly ripe for a serious makeover. Perhaps artist Catherine’s Yass’ suspended grand piano in its courtyard, strings playing randomly in the wind, drew a final and dissonant line between its Top of the Pops undertones and reincarnation as a £200 million mixed-use resi/office scheme with indie cinema and private members’ club. Envelope specialist Prater is to top off the demanding grade II listed building in a major roofing contract covering two plots and renovation of the iconic studios. Now there’s a new signing no-one should have a problem with.
AA100 cladding system
Cardiff Central masterplanner Foster + Partners’ city office development is either genius or folly. The mixed use office, resi and hotel scheme, sited between the station and Millennium Stadium, includes a pedestrian route wide enough to deal with 35,000 fans all heading for the game. I’m imagining stunned office workers of a Wednesday, faces forced to the glass as unruly hordes pile past them in a Pamplona-esque bull run to the stands. Luckily, Kawneer’s robust curtain walling and mullion-drained cladding should deal admirably with the saliva and dropped Prets.