Construction Industry Today

Kawneer systems help Sheffield on the sustainability scale

Kawneer's curtain walling, windows and doors have been used at Sheffield City College.
Published 18 January 2012

A trio of architectural aluminium systems from leading UK supplier Kawneer proved a "key element" to the redevelopment of a city college for a multitude of reasons including sustainability, robustness and aesthetics.

Kawneer's AA®110 curtain walling was used on the student refectory that provides panoramic views of Sheffield as well as the walls of the flagship atrium. Glazed strip sections were also used on the atrium's curved roof, complemented elsewhere by AA®601 top/side-hung casement and AA®602 pivot windows and series 190 heavy-duty commercial entrance doors.

Winner of a regional award for outstanding contribution to improving air quality, the £60 million Sheffield City College is home to 6,000 students, 600 staff and a host of sustainable features including a trio of roof-mounted 15m-high wind turbines, the first of their kind to grace the city skyline.

As well as these, the iconic purpose-built college also features photovoltaic panels, a rainwater recycling system, green sedum roofs, a balancing pond to channel water for re-use, natural ventilation of all rooms, high-efficiency light fittings and an additional turbine at ground level.

The three-year project was completed in four phases by main contractor JF Finnegan - the first being a nursery, the second a three-storey catering wing, and the third the atrium building and seven-storey tower containing 50 teaching rooms including the National Enterprise and Health and Social Care Academies. In addition, there is an aviation wing, training salons, dental and science laboratories, learning resource centre, spa and restaurant.

The final phase included a sports hall, outdoor sports pitches, landscaping and new college entrance, with students moving into each new phase to allow demolition of the old buildings.

Architects Jefferson Sheard have used Kawneer before, on numerous education and transport projects. In the case of Sheffield City College, where the Kawneer systems were installed by specialist sub-contractor Drawn Metal, theirs was a performance specification that also had a contractor design element.

Architect Mike Hall said: "We did work closely with Kawneer and produced our details in accordance with the Kawneer system as we have used Kawneer products in the past with great success and Kawneer were extremely pro-active in helping us produce the details and input into the spec. We had no issues in accepting the Kawneer product as a contractor's proposal."

He added: "The Kawneer systems are a key element, providing natural light into the atrium space and integrating smoke vents, providing a fantastic panoramic view of the city from the refectory.

"The college, with its use of sustainable building techniques and renewable energy technologies, is high on the sustainability agenda and it was extremely important that the building materials were reflective of this. The use of an aluminium system with high recyclable properties was important.

"The Kawneer system complied with the aesthetic and performance requirements of the project extremely well, providing a robust yet elegant solution."

He added: "The interface details were developed in conjunction with Kawneer, ourselves and the contractor and interfaced extremely well with the adjacent standing seam, rainscreen cladding and composite cladding elements."

Sheffield City College principal Julie Byrne said: "We are incredibly proud of our inspirational new building and its green credentials and would like to thank all the partners involved for doing such a fantastic job."


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