Spanish City, Whitley Bay

Although Spanish City closed in 2002, it has remained a local beacon and so became the focal point of North Tyneside Council’s £36m seafront masterplan, undergoing a £10m restoration and regeneration to bring it back to its former glory.

As a listed building protected by English Heritage, it was essential that the redesign by ADP architects retained as many of the building’s original features as possible, including the copper Terpsichorean female figures or ‘dancing ladies’, which were restored and positioned on top of two redeveloped Cupolas.

Alongside this was the addition of a bold extension featuring Proteus SC perforated TECU Patina, which was applauded by the judges when ADP’s vision for Spanish city secured a RIBA North East Award 2019.

ADP Architects specified TECU Patina for Spanish City, a copper material that features the natural green patina from the outset, as it created a beautifully aged aesthetic that complements the ‘old’ copper finish of the dancing ladies.

The homogenous pattern featured on the Proteus SC perforated cladding covers the entirety of the new extension at Spanish City, making it difficult to discern the position of the different floors and giving the structure a monolithic presence that is able hold its own against the imposing dome on the original building.

Choosing round perforations or ‘holes’ was no accident, it creates a contrast with the right angles of the surrounding cityscape, but mirrors the internal layout. A defining feature of the building is its extremely complex geometry, in fact only four rooms have walls in a square format, every other space is curved or a polygon, including the impressive rotunda which the panels were designed to meet.

The Proteus SC TECU Patina perforated copper cladding panels were fixed over extensive glazed areas at Spanish City, so both sides were visible by people inside the building and from those outside. This presented an engineering challenge because the architects envisaged large perforated panels due to the sheer size of the façade (larger cladding panels on large facades can look more visually striking), which can require thicker gauge metal.

Working with ADP architects Proteus devised a rear supporting aluminium PPC framing system that was discrete and avoided having to increase the thickness – and cost – of the copper material. The outcome was that it enabled the panels to be designed to meet the maximum optimisation of material, whilst meeting the challenging geometry of the project.

As Spanish City occupies a spectacular seafront setting overlooking the North Sea coast, it is susceptible to harsh coastal climatic conditions, which include high winds and salty sea and air. The Proteus SC perforated cladding panels will go some way to protecting the building from the elements, which was a major factor in causing the wear and corrosion that saw the demise of the original structure.

After more than two years of redevelopment work, by Robertson Group, the magnificent building is back to its former glory, transformed into an impressive mixed-use leisure venue that once again acts as a hub for tourists and members of the community.

The new extension block, clad by Chemplas Ltd, in Proteus SC perforated TECU Patina, to the rear of the building houses the new level-access entrance, toilets, plant and staircase that ensure compliance with modern standards.

Spanish City remains an iconic part of Whitley Bay’s heritage and a striking example of how old and new architectural styles and materials can work together. The building is now home to a Fish & Chip restaurant and takeaway, waffle and pancake house, Champagne bar, fine-dining restaurant, traditional tearooms and an event space.

Proteus Facades Ltd is able to offer a wide ranges of TECU copper and copper alloys in the UK. This includes TECU Copper, TECU Bronze, TECU Brass, TECU Gold, and TECU Zinn. Some of these materials are also available pre-patinated, which bypasses the gradual weathering process, so that the cladding panels take on the beautiful earth tones from the day the façade is installed.

Spanish City in Whitley Bay, is a collection of Edwardian seaside pleasure buildings and grounds. Built in 1910, the iconic structure, which once included a concert hall, restaurant, tea room, ballroom and funfair, attracted thousands of people from across the UK until it fell into disrepair in the 1970’s.


Photography by Andrew Heptinsall.

Trio of Proteus cladding projects win RCI’s UK Facade awards

Its official. Our rainscreen cladding is award winning. Mind you, we’ve always known it, but, still, it’s good to have it independently confirmed in the recent Roofing, Cladding & Insulation (RCI) magazine UK Façade Awards 2020. What makes the awards even more special is that we were able to share the accolades with our installation partners, a great endorsement and a clear message to customers that if they’re looking for a joined-up approach to specifying and installing rainscreen cladding systems, then we are the right choice. As it turned out, the ‘virtual’ awards night went better than even we were hoping for, with Proteus Facades winning awards for:

  • The Best Refurbishment Project Award and the Project of the Year Award for a Proteus SC Verdigris green perforated façade installed by Chemplas on the redevelopment of Spanish City, Whitley Bay.
  • Best use of a Rainscreen System Using Stainless Steel alongside Deane Roofing & Cladding for a mirrored Proteus SC façade at Northampton International Academy.
  • Best use of Rainscreen Using a Specialist Metal for a bespoke Proteus SC perforated copper alloy façade installed by Cladanco at the new Mulberry Park Community Hub development in Bath.

We were overjoyed to have been crowned the winner in four categories – an achievement that no other company on the night could match. It was doubly satisfying when our perforated copper façade at Spanish City was selected for the acclaimed Project of the Year.

TECU Patina Screen - - Proteus SC

Of course, none of it would have been possible without our team’s skill and professionalism and our installation partners on site. Their uncompromising high standards, combining with our manufacturing expertise, helps us deliver our ‘right first time, every time’ commitment to customers.

What was so special about these cladding projects? Well, Spanish City stands out because the bold, Proteus SC TECU Patina perforated copper clad extension forms the central visual element of this Grade II Listed Renaissance-style fronted building. Even before the façade awards, the ADP Architecture designed scheme was singled out for praise when Spanish City won a RIBA North East Award High praise, indeed. The architects chose TECU Patina because it features the natural green finish from the outset, creating a beautifully aged aesthetic that complements the existing historic ‘old copper’ decorative elements at Spanish City. To find out more about this intriguing project, visit this our Spanish City case study.

The next project to secure a win at the RCI Awards was our Proteus SC façade at Northampton International Academy. The award category sums it up perfectly; ‘Best use of a Rainscreen System Using Stainless Steel’. Next time you visit Northampton city centre, watch out for this stunning project, which achieves exactly what it set out to do – revitalised an old, uninspiring Royal Mail sorting office and demonstrating why stainless steel remains one of the most attractive and versatile cladding materials.


What really grabs attention on this project is how our perforated stainless steel cladding panels visually truncate the monolithic structure beneath, whilst not completely hiding this important piece of post-war brutalist architecture. Our stainless steel cladding’s versatility enabled us to incorporate a low maintenance mirror polished surface on the face of the panels – an ingenious decision by Architecture Initiative because it reflects the surrounding built environment to make the monolith appear less imposing! On a similar scale to Spanish City, this expansive façade redefines what is possible with perforated cladding and for that rightly deserves recognition in these awards.

Completing the trio of award wins is Mulberry Park Community Hub in Bath. Designed by architects BDP, this eye-catching venture features our patterned perforated and solid TECU Gold cladding panels. It sits at the heart of Mulberry Park, a former Ministry of Defence site on Fox Hill near Bath.


We manufactured the patterned façade using our Proteus SC cladding panels. The perforations depicted images from historic aerial photographs of the Mulberry harbours used by the military during the second world war. Our copper alloy cladding images were executed, which will weather beautifully and embellish naturally over time. The images were executed in our copper alloy cladding, which will weather beautifully and embellish naturally over time. This project was singled out for Best use of Rainscreen Using a Specialist Metal, aside from the visual aspects, because our unique framing system meant that a thinner perforated skin could be used on the face of the panel without resulting in deflection or distortion. The result: using thinner (less) material allowed the cladding to meet budget expectations whilst meeting the strict aesthetic requirements of this project. An important point that certainly caught the attention of the Facade Awards judging panel. Complementary Proteus HR solid TECU Gold rainscreen cladding panels were used at ground floor level, adding visual structure and pleasing architectural proportions.

All our projects that won this year’s RCI Façade Awards were perforated. A coincidence? Probably, because we also manufacture optically flat honeycomb-core cladding panels, porcelain ceramic cladding and back painted glass cladding. And, when you read about each of the projects here, you’ll see that it’s not just the fact that the cladding was perforated that makes them ‘award-winning’. It goes well beyond that – in fact, in some ways, focusing on them being perforated misses the point – the facades are just as interesting because of the material choices, the support structure and how that relates to budgets as well as scale and how we delivered them with our installation partners on site. That is why they all deserved a place in this year’s awards.

8 key questions asked by architects about perforated metal facades

Perforated façades can define the whole aesthetic appearance of a project. As a result, especially over the last few months, we have noticed that perforated cladding is growing in popularity, which is due partly to its practical benefits, along with the fact it offers architects more choice than ever in terms of design, material and finish options available.

Here, in our regular blog, we look at eight key questions that architects and designers commonly ask about our perforated cladding systems.

  1. Am I restricted in the type of metal I can use for perforated cladding?

The simple answer to that is, no, all commonly available metal specified for rainscreen cladding systems can be used to create a perforated façade. There are, of course, materials which are more popular than others. For example, perforated aluminium cladding is always going to be regularly specified because the material is widely available and offered in more section sizes. At the same time, latest finishes in PPC (Polyester Powder Coated) technology allows us to recreate the look of rarer materials such as brass, bronze and Corten. Our blog the architects guide to powder coating looks at these in detail.

The only point to bear in mind is that, away from aluminium, some metals may have limitations on width and thicknesses available, which will have an impact on the solution we can provide. But, usually, only in the size of the overall panel is affected – we can work with most metals to create a perforated façade. However, we can offer guidance on the design or suggest alternative materials that will achieve the same overall aesthetic.

  1. Are there restrictions on the number and size of perforations?

There are very few restrictions on the number and size of perforations. The panel has to remain rigid and achieve the structural requirements of the specification, but outside this, we can create very large perforations (or multiple smaller perforations) across the panel. It’s worth noting that perforations can be any size or shape and not just restricted to circular.

  1. Can we fit perforated cladding on an existing building?

Yes, this is certainly something that you can do, and we have seen it transform outdated structures into what effectively become smart, new buildings. Our recent involvement in the redevelopment of York House is a great example. Our perforated cladding transitioned the defunct 1980s structure in the heart of London into a modern, vibrant office complex. Our Proteus SC Perforated Aluminium cladding panels wrap around a parapet in a repeating zig-zag profile that complements a brick lattice façade. The circular perforated panels also span various windows on the upper elements of the building.

York House Kings Cross

We manufactured the perforated cladding at York House from 2mm aluminium sheets with an Interpon D2525 Anodic Bronze Polyester Powder Coat (PPC) finish to all sides and 40mm perforations in a regular triangular grid.

  1. What are the practical benefits of perforated cladding?

The principle benefit of perforated cladding is that it helps architects and designers manage the amount of natural light inside the building. Large perforations allow more natural light to pass through but still protect buildings with significant glazed elements from overheating in summer from direct sunlight. By acting in this way, perforated cladding can reduce reliance on intensive air conditioning systems during the hot summer months; we seem to be experiencing in the UK.

Perforated Aluminium Rainscreen Cladding

Perforated cladding doesn’t have to detract the views from inside the building looking out, either. No.1 Hardman Street in Manchester, which features our Proteus SC perforated cladding panels, demonstrated this. If you look at the images here, the perforated cladding is hardly noticeable from the inside, yet from the street view, it creates an aesthetic that brings the building to life and certainly gets it noticed.

Perforated Aluminium Rainscreen Cladding

  1. Does perforated cladding still provide rainscreen benefits?

No, a perforated panel would be classified as a screen, not a rainscreen. As a screen, water is allowed to penetrate into the open cavity. The amount will be dependent on the number and size of the perforations. If in front of a venting area, the screen will reduce the free flow area, and this needs to be considered when assessing the ‘open area’ required.

  1. Can I incorporate a design into the perforations?

Yes, we use advanced computer software to pixelate images, logos, letters and numbers to create a bespoke perforated cladding pattern that can be applied to one panel or any number of panels to create a ‘jigsaw-effect’ image across the whole building façade. This has been used by many architects and designers to add an individual mark on a building façade.

Another interesting option is our ability to create a 3D image on a perforated cladding façade. Which is available in perforated or solid screens, adds a second dimension by forming shapes in the surface that generate texture and movement in the façade screen.

  1. Will fixings be visible behind the cladding?

The fixing we use on our perforated cladding panels remains as discrete as we can physically make them. A recent project we supplied, Spanish City in Whitley Bay, illustrates this. Our Proteus SC TECU Patina perforated copper cladding panels were fixed over a glazed wall, so both sides were visible. Working with ADP architects, we overcame this engineering challenge by devising a rear supporting aluminium PPC framing system that was discrete and avoided having to increase the thickness – and cost – of the copper material. The result was that it delivered three major benefits to the client – it remained discrete, enabling the panels to be designed to meet the maximum optimisation of the material and meet the challenging geometry of the project.

TECU Patina Screen - Proteus SC


  1. Is perforated cladding right for my client’s budget expectations?

The innovative design of our Proteus SC perforated cladding makes it viable on a wider range of projects. Proteus SC comprises of a single skin solid, perforated or mesh cladding panels, usually constructed from 1mm to 5mm thick sheet metal. The single skin design allows significant material saving to be made, while the metal removed from the perforations can be 100% recycled, making it an effective way of creating an eye-catching façade.

For more information about our Proteus SC range click here or read our blog What are the benefits of a perforated metal facade? 

Some of our favourite rainscreen cladding projects from 2019

The last 12 months have been a busy and exciting time for us at Proteus Facades. We have manufactured and supplied rainscreen cladding to a diverse range of architectural projects in the commercial, education and residential sector. As we look forward to 2020 – already with a healthy  order book – we thought it worthwhile revisiting some of the highlights from last year:

Wells Malting

This was an unusual project as it involved adding a new rainscreen clad extension to an existing Grade II listed building. In a visionary move and one that proved pivotal to the success of the whole project, Chaplin Farrant architects specified our Proteus HR TECU Brass rainscreen cladding panels.

TECU Brass Rainscreen Cladding - Proteus HR

A challenge on this project was selecting a rainscreen cladding material that would be sympathetic with the Grade II listed building. The stand-out feature that resulted in our Proteus HR TECU Brass rainscreen cladding being specified is that it weathers just like a natural material; The brass cladding at Wells Malting will develop a beautiful patination over time as it is exposed to atmospheric conditions, creating warm hues of ochres and browns that complement the brickwork and flint walls.

The £5m arts, heritage and community project in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, went on to be shortlisted for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) East of England Awards in both the Commercial and Community Benefit categories. It was also Highly Commended in the Graham Allen Awards for making a ‘significant contribution to the built environment within the district’.

Spanish City

Another Grade II Listed project, although this time ADP architects specified our Proteus SC perforated TECU Patina. The cladding panels feature circular perforations, whilst their homogenous pattern creates a semi-translucent aesthetic that adds depth to what would otherwise be a simple cubed structure. Fixed over large glazed areas, the perforations provide a practical purpose, too; at the same time as reducing solar glare they blur the demarcation of internal floor levels, creating a light and airy out-of-this-world aesthetic when seen from street level.

TECU Patina Screen - Proteus SC

The challenge on this project was choosing a rainscreen cladding material that could stand up to the Renaissance-style frontage of the original Grade II domed-building. Proteus SC perforated TECU Patina cladding was a bold move, but one applauded by judges of the RIBA North East Award 2019.

Mulberry Park

Perforated cladding is a theme on several projects we supplied in 2019, including Mulberry Park, a new residential development near Bath. Our blog explains why perforated cladding might also be a good option for your project. Designed by BDP architects and their client Curo housing association, the eye-catching Mulberry Park building is unusual because the image created by our Proteus TECU Gold perforations were derived from historic aerial photographs of the World War II harbours of the same name, which was manufactured at the site. Download our System Overview brochure to find out more about our perforated pattern capabilities. Other elements of this project feature solid Proteus TECU Gold cladding panels.


The challenge at Mulberry Park was to create the striking perforated façade – including extra-large perforated cladding panels – whilst working around limitations in material thickness. Our engineering team devised an ingenious solution using a unique framing system that meant a thinner perforated skin could be used on the face of the panel without resulting in deflection or distortion. It also helped the striking façade remain within budget requirements. Read our blog to find out the reasons why our framing system can help reduce the amount of material needed for a perforated rainscreen facade: How to specify a perforated thin gauge metal facade?

Mulberry Park Community Hub was crowned the winner of the South West Community Benefit category at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards 2019.

Janet Nash House

A FaulknerBrowns architect’s trailblazer for how future corporate headquarters should be designed is the best way of describing this project. The design of the new European IT headquarters for global electrical wholesaler City Electrical Factors (CEF) is a visual celebration of the company’s ethos and rich industrial heritage. The ‘electrifying’ aluminium façade, which takes its inspiration from CEF’s core product – the foil shield of a coaxial cable – is executed in our Proteus HR Euromax AluNatur Elox Anodised Brushed pre-coated aluminium.

Pre Coated Aluminium Rainscreen Cladding - Proteus HR

A challenge on this project was recreating the coaxial pattern on the scale of a building façade. We proposed our Euromax AluNatur because it consists of semi-transparent clear-coats applied on brushed or transparent lacquering aluminium surface. This highlights the natural character of the aluminium substrate material and, by choosing pre-coat finishes to minimise shade variation between panels and working with the project specifiers and installers to ensure consistency of grain direction, we achieved the high aesthetic detailing required on this project.

Janet Nash House went on to win the North East RIBA Regional Award 2019 and two British Council for Offices’ (BCO) regional awards.

24 King William Street

Refurbishment rather than demolition and newbuild not only delivers environmental benefits but can create a more interesting building with real-life provenance. The £23 million renovation of 24 King William Street in London now joins the growing number of commercial premises that have been transformed using rainscreen cladding. Proteus SC TECU Brass panels and bespoke vertical fins and trim flashings, with an Artisan hand applied patinated finish, now create an extraordinary ground level and street-facing elevations. The fins are complemented by Proteus SC perforated panels fixed over insulated spandrel panels within the curtain wall system.

24 King William Street

Proteus HR Graphite Grey Rheinzinc rainscreen panels were specified for rear elevations of the nine-storey building. The zinc material wraps up and over forming a curved zinc roofing system which blends vertical and horizontal elevations into one. We also supplied United Anodisers UnAtex cladding panels for integration within the windows on the top two floors.  These flow up and onto the roof generating the patterned effect, while making it look like the façade and roof become one element.

24 King William Street by Ben Adams Architects is a masterclass on how to make old buildings look and perform like new.

Northampton Academy

Sometimes cladding can be used to visually minimise the scale of large buildings, as was the case with Northampton Academy. The clever use of perforations, which reduce in size from the middle of the façade to the top and bottom edges, maximises translucency, whilst acting as brise soleil on this school building. It’s the overall effect, though, that makes this perforated cladding the central visual element of this project. What was once a monolithic building in the centre of Northampton set for demolition has now become a beacon of optimism for other brutalist designs that have fallen out of favour with the public.


A challenge on this project was the careful placement of the perforations – which allow natural light to pass through and illuminate the interior of the school. We manufactured the single skin perforated panels at Northampton Academy from sheets of 2mm stainless steel because of its high strength, excellent corrosion resistance and modern, progressive aesthetic.

Northampton International Academy was named one of the “boldest” buildings of 2019 by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Hoxton Square

Proteus HR TECU Patina Madrid panels were specified for the double-height structure built on top of Hoxton Square. We designed and manufactured the architectural fins to the south elevations and window frames to match. The patterned copper finish of our Proteus material complements the colours and textures of the surrounding buildings.

28 - 30 Hoxton Street Project Drum

Hoxton Square, which is now offices for Aviva, is another shining example of how refurbishment using Proteus cladding can transform an ordinary building into something extraordinary.

Thi project is definitely worth a second look; illustrating our capabilities of manufacturing internal and external cladding and façade elements.

These are just some of our projects completed in 2019. To view our full range of products please visit our Products page.

How to specify a perforated thin gauge metal facade?

A wide range of different metals are commonly used for cladding, each with its own distinctive aesthetics, including copper, brass, bronze, zinc, steel and aluminium. Some are higher value and more sought-after than others and this blog looks at how it is still possible to specify these kinds of perforated metal cladding systems whilst delivering the client an engineered solution.

Aluminium and steel are routinely used for facades because the metal is widely available, which means that they can provide a cost effective solution, even when the thickness of the metal on the face of the panel has to be increased for wider panel spans. A thicker gauge metal is used to maintain rigidity and avoid deflection on these larger panels. Increasing the thickness of panels made from steel or aluminium has a limited effect on cost (for example, doubling the thickness does not necessarily double the cost). However, the weight will increase which would have an effect on the structure and the labour requirements for installation.

Other cladding materials, such as copper, brass and zinc are higher value and this can require a different approach where the client likes the aesthetics but is concerned about value for money. In these situations, particularly if the design requires large span cladding panels, which are often preferred because they are visually stunning, then designers have various considerations to take into account.

Copper Alloys and Zincs have limited thickness options, copper, for instance, would double in cost by doubling the thickness of the metal due to the material being priced by weight. This has a considerable effect on the overall cost of the façade for a given amount of area. In addition, a designer would face minimum order requirements from the copper mill, which needs to be considered, particularly for rainscreen facades that cover a smaller area. This can mean that these higher value metals are no longer an option, resulting in design compromises, which is far from ideal. From an engineering perspective, too, doubling the thickness of these metals doesn’t give a double span capacity and designer would still have the likely implication of requiring a secondary support structure to the rear of the panel.

In these situations, we have developed a way of allowing designers to retain the original façade design in higher value metals. A lightweight strengthening frame that is fixed behind the panel, which it means a thinner gauge metal can be specified even on perforated facades.  And, with copper and zinc being readily available in thinner gauges and typically have no minimum order requirements (subject to manufacturer), it creates a workable solution on more projects.

We used this approach recently at Mulberry Park School where the architect’s liked the look of our perforated copper panels. Using our unique framing approach, meant that a thinner perforated copper skin could be used on the face of the panel without resulting in deflection or distortion. However, this system usually only works with external to internal visuals like those at Mulberry Park Hub because the strengthening frame remains hidden from people looking onto the building from the outside, if the perforation pattern and frame are developed in unison.

It was slightly different at Spanish City, featuring our Proteus SC TECU Patina Copper because the perforated cladding panels were fixed over extensive glazed areas and so were visible by people inside the building looking outside and vice versa.

This presented an engineering challenge because the architects were working to a defined budget and had envisaged large cladding panels because of the sheer size of the façade (larger cladding panels on large facades can look more visually striking). Increasing the thickness of the copper wasn’t an option on this project, either, because of the reasons listed above. It was an added engineering challenge that the support framework behind the panel would be visible from both inside and outside the building.

Spanish City

Working with ADP architects we devised a rear supporting aluminium PPC framing system that was discrete and avoided having to increase the thickness of the copper. The outcome was that it enabled the panels to be designed to meet the maximum optimisation of material, whilst working within the challenging geometry of this project. Alongside the strengthening system we used our standard aluminium support frame with brackets fixed back to the main structure through the render layer, and this required close design co-ordination between the two systems.

It’s worth noting that both Spanish City and Mulberry Park Hub both feature perforated panels. This is another way of optimising use of material whilst at the same time creating a façade that looks like no others. The cut-out metal from the perforations can be 100% recycled. For more ideas on perforated cladding take a look at our case studies.

In the quest for improved cost-effectiveness and to meet project aspirations, specifiers have a number of choices and one of these is to optimise the use of metal in the façade. Set against this is the need to ensure the panel meets performance and aesthetic requirements – quite a challenge with the trend moving towards larger panels and more efficient use of materials. Increasing the gauge of the metal would seem the obvious solutions, although this is not always possible due to other constraints. Conversely, using our unique strengthening system can ensure your solid or perforated metal rainscreen cladding façade stands out as something special.