Cultural Award Winner. Entrant: MUMA

The new Promenade Gallery  on the west elevation.
The new Promenade Gallery on the west elevation. Credit: Alan Williams

Schueco systems were integral to MUMA’s impressive extension of The Whitworth art gallery, helping realise the architect’s key intents of dematerialising the gallery into the landscape from the inside, and opening it up to the park externally.

The resulting sequence of vistas celebrates the setting and transforms what had previously been a primarily internalised visitor experience.

The café, which includes delicate, polished stainless steel structural mullions.
The café, which includes delicate, polished stainless steel structural mullions. Credit: Alan Williams

‘It’s astonishingly good. All these effects have been achieved through phenomenally thoughtful and well crafted use of the products,’ said judge Hugh Pearman.

According to MUMA partner Stuart McKnight, the Schueco range enabled the practice to create bespoke glazing that responded to each specific circumstance while meeting its overall vision for the project.

The study centre features a 13.5m wide panoramic window over the Art Garden.
The study centre features a 13.5m wide panoramic window over the Art Garden. Credit: Alan Williams

‘We were looking for a range of high performance systems – not just curtain-walling but also framed windows, openings with concealed frames, plus door systems. The Schueco range provided these and fitted with our architectural intent,’ he said.

Judges particularly appreciated the elegant use of Schueco systems in the Promenade Gallery that forms a new glazed frontage to the park along the formerly blank west end.

Here, MUMA controlled light, glare and solar gain through the use of Schueco FW 50+ SG curtain walling with a delicate brise soleil of 5mm thick stainless steel fins to cast shade while maintaining views. At the upper level a ceramic frit in a fringed pattern provides further control.

 

The same system was also used to great effect in a new café wing extending south into the landscape. Here delicate structural stainless steel mullions support both the curtain wall glazing and the roof.

‘The structural mullions were designed to reflect the trees into the café and at the same time conceal the glazing system,’ said McKnight, adding that mirror frits were used externally to help control solar gain and conceal the back of the structural mullions.

Further uses of Schueco systems include an AWS 65 panoramic window stretching 13.5m along the Study Centre on the north side of a new garden court, and Schueco Janisol glazed internal and external steel doors and openable facade elements.

‘It really is very well done,’ said judge Paul Monaghan, adding that the project was ‘in a different league’ to all other Cultural category contenders.


Client University of Manchester
Architect MUMA    
Building facade consultant Arup Facade Engineering
Structural engineer Ramboll UK
Main contractor ISG
Specialist contractor Arkoni


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