Gresham Steam Building

Gresham Steam Building

Sector:
Education
System:
Proteus HR
Architect:
WilkinsonEyre

The architectural clarity of a new teaching facility at Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk – incorporating Proteus HR pre-oxidised copper cladding panels alongside full-height glazing – sets an exemplar for future educational buildings.

The Proteus HR solid and perforated copper cladding panels, specified by WilkinsonEyre in Aurubis Nordic Brown Light, embellish both the building and its natural surroundings. The warm, mellow hues of the copper patina on the Proteus panels were chosen to complement the decorative flint details on the adjacent school chapel elevation, blending and integrating the new and the old

Former pupil Sir James Dyson enabled the project with an £18.75m donation, which now carries his name, The Dyson STEAM Building. The multi-disciplinary hub takes a fresh approach by allowing art and science to be taught side-by-side.

WilkinsonEyre’s design integrates a modern architectural aesthetic with simple beauty and low energy systems. The main contractor on The Dyson STEAM Building was Kier Construction, with Norwich-based Drayton Windows installing the façade elements, including the Proteus HR panels.

Overall, the subtle use of pre-oxidised Aurubis Nordic Brown Light Proteus HR solid and perforated pre-oxidised copper panels and full-height glass portrays a sense of openness, both within the building and when standing in the surrounding landscape. Clever detailing allows the seamless transition between the copper, glass and steel primary elements, while achieving a highly thermally efficient façade.

A fluid approach to the design sees some of the Proteus HR cladding panels set back into the footprint of the building to accommodate landscaped open areas. These are used for outside teaching, where research shows that being close to nature improves academic outcomes for pupils. Integrated planting in these spaces further blurs the boundaries between the outside and in.

Proteus HR is an integrated modular rainscreen cladding system that offers a flat façade with recessed joints. It is available in a wide range of materials and finishes, including aluminium, zinc, stainless steel, copper alloys and various other options, such as pre-oxidised, like that used for The Dyson STEAM Building.

The beautiful pre-oxidised appearance at the Dyson building is one that would naturally develop over time as the copper is exposed to the natural elements. Specifying Proteus HR in Aurubis Nordic Brown Light Copper means that a base oxidation is present from the start,

Completed in the summer of 2022, ready for the new September term, the centre for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) facility provides a state-of-the-art structure at the heart of the school campus. The Dyson STEAM Building is a centre of excellence at this public school in Holt, which is one of the top thirty International Baccalaureate schools in England.

An inviting internal courtyard doubles up as circulation space, featuring an arts hub, seating area, IT point and facilities, further reinforcing the integration of art, design, and science.

Delivered with architectural clarity at its core, this exemplar educational building, which makes full use of pre-oxidised Proteus HR panels, looks set to achieve its goal of inspiring future generations of scientists, technologists, engineers, artists and mathematicians.

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