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BP 10 October 2016

DOORS & WINDOWS | COMAR | ADVERTORIAL Comprising two linked tall towers of 17 and 21 storeys, and five ‘finger’ blocks, The University of Birmingham’s new Chamberlain Hall Student Accommodation is an impressive example of regeneration which is in keeping with the landscape as well as providing all essential capacity growth for the future. With the modern financial implications of studying and attracting international students, accommodation needs are changing. The University of Birmingham now has a building which gives good quality architecture and a landmark to Birmingham’s skyline that will promote the quality of the institute to prospective students and their parents. Feasibility studies indicated that increasing the density could not be achieved with the existing floor plan, so a new building was commissioned. The design concept was to maintain the links to the previous building tower yet create a design that was modern and light – creating a place where students would want to live, socialise and study. The façade concept was to ensure that the palette of colours is sympathetic to the landscape, using rich coppers, and an intelligent use of brickwork helps the building merge into the landscape and maintains ‘cross corridor’ views to the lake. The façade had to provide function as well as form. Daylight is vital to aid with studying, no dark gloomy corners, a light and airy interior is desirable. Natural ventilation was a ‘must’, however – in keeping with the structured façade – open-in windows were required. These were fronted with ventilation panels to allow ventilation without impacting on the façade’s integrity, maintaining the clean lines and sleek elevations. 26 BUILDING PRODUCTS | OCTOBER 2016 Making the façade work and integrate with all the cladding elements necessitated Comar Architectural Aluminium Systems having to design new methods of fixing. There was the desire for a flush façade and all the elements – including the Comar Glazing, Mesh and Copper panels – needed to integrate. One of the engineering challenges on the project was the connection of the perforated copper cladding panels to the Comar 6EFT curtain walling. This connection had a few considerations, such as the metals being at opposite ends of the galvanic table, aesthetic demands, thermal performance and the structural considerations of loading panels to Comar 6EFT curtain walling. Continental Installations worked closely with Comar Architectural Aluminium Systems and main contractor Balfour Beatty on the complex façade. The team designed a bespoke capping profile which was extruded with reinforced walls capable of fixing the copper panels directly to it. A heavy duty pressure plate with a fixing port arrangement was used to mechanically fix the capping to the pressure plate. Subsequent regular fixings then transmitted the applied loads back to the rear structural mullion member to ensure there was no thermal bridging. All connections were fully isolated to prevent bi-metallic corrosion. This bespoke design then included inward full height opening windows which sat behind the façade, and Comar 5P.i Advanced Tilt/Turn open in windows were selected for this aspect of the job. These windows were well-suited to the application as they offer slim sightlines, maximising daylight entering the building, and the profiles themselves have thicker walls that provide robustness and large spans to ensure they stand the test of time. The five ‘finger’ blocks were sited to draw people through the buildings and connect with the landscape beyond. Full height windows were selected, again, from the Comar 5P.i Advanced Tilt/Turn range. The glass used to the bottom of the glazing allowed light to enter, but prevented items below the desk being seen from the outside. The use of feature bay windows provides the buildings feature and occupants views of the landscape. At upper levels in order to maximise views of the landscape, study bedrooms have splayed bay windows, a feature in the original 1960s Mason Hall. www.comar-alu.co.uk projects@parksidegroup.co.uk Photos: John Kees Photography CHAMBERLAIN STUDENT ACCOMMODATION


BP 10 October 2016
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