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Building Products March 2018

EDUCATION Creating designs within the perforated pattern enables accentuation of these free-form shapes. Optical illusions can often be created, for example, changing the pattern of perforations and dividing the facade into horizontal bands can reduce its overall visual mass. Other clever ways of using this technique to create an aesthetic that plays with the observer’s perceptions include having the smallest perforations at the base to create a more human scale at street level. The perforation can then expand upwards to emphasise the building’s vertical character and provide a visual connection with larger structures nearby. Reversing this effect and having the perforations reduce in size as they travel up the facade has the effect of making a squat structure look taller. At the Energy Centre, arranging the perforated panels in an elongated landscape style achieved a similar result. A permeable skin can welcome the community in and contributes to the social atmosphere of a neighbourhood in a way that simply isn’t possible with large monolithic structures based on solid masonry-type systems. 66 BUILDING PRODUCTS | MARCH 2018 Setting trends The development at Northampton University is testament to the fact that an increasing number of designers are picking up on the benefits of compartmentalising a building’s facade with different materials and finishes. For example, it is widely understood that rainscreen cladding works particularly well when fitted alongside glazing or glass panels. When combined with perforated, coloured, ceramic or any of the other multitude of finishes, the combination has an aesthetically pleasing effect. As such, back painted glass, which is generally available in any RAL colour, or can be digitally screen printed, is a growing trend within contemporary and contrasting architectural designs. Lewisham Southwark College Waterloo Campus is a good example of this. Of particular interest on this project is the use of the back painted glass with stainless steel cladding in Granex finish. This is created by controlled blasting of the stainless steel with a variety of media to create an attractive matt finish. It worked particularly well on this project, with the attractive silvery, granular surface accentuating the back painted glass. <<< Continued from page 65 Multitude of benefits The possibilities with back painted glass are endless, for example, blending interior with exterior colour schemes, meaning that the facade immediately gives a nod to what the visitor is about to experience on the inside. When a building’s facade is clad in back painted glass, it also creates a visually arresting aesthetic effect, especially with its capability to play with colour and light. Its ability to reflect light gives a fresh new perspective to any facade. As a modern architecture material, glass takes some beating, especially when specified as a rainscreen facade. In addition, back painted glass, being opaque, has the dual benefit of being suitable for rear ventilated rainscreen cladding applications. The benefits of glass panels do not end with its aesthetic appeal and design possibilities. The impressive environmental credentials of the material, being completely recyclable, means it can be broken down and reformed into new glass products, making it a firm favourite with architects looking to meet their client’s sustainability requirements. In Summary Perforated aluminium cladding remains the most popular choice for most building designers because it is such a versatile material. Being lightweight yet strong means it reduces weight loadings on the building, allowing more intricate, gravity defying perforated designs to be created. Rainscreen cladding systems are constantly evolving as they respond to design trends and developers’ aesthetic preferences. That is creating developments with the ability to use contrasting materials on a facade in order to allow a building to complement or contrast with its surroundings, creating structures that are distinctly different. In that sense, modern rainscreen cladding systems have reached a stage where they provide architects and their clients with the freedom to create designs that engage with the environment and deliver either subtle or striking, yet aesthetically pleasing designs. www.proteusfacades.com Back painted glass with stainless steel cladding in a Granex finish was used at Lewisham Southwark College, Waterloo Campus, pictured here and above, right Perforated panels alongside solid panels at the Energy Centre. Right: Lewisham Southwark College’s Waterloo Campus


Building Products March 2018
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