Sawston Unity Campus

Sawston Unity Campus

Proteus HR, Metal Fabrications
Nicolas Hare Architects

The Sawston Unity Campus, located in Cambridgeshire, represents a significant development in the realm of educational and research facilities. Completed in January 2024, this state-of-the-art campus is a testament to modern architectural innovation and meticulous planning.

The Sawston Unity Campus is a cutting-edge laboratory and office space encompassing 260,000 square feet within an 11.5-acre urban innovation district. Situated amidst the picturesque Cambridgeshire countryside, approximately 8 miles south of Cambridge, the campus serves as a dynamic hub for life science and technology innovation. Morgan Sindall was the main contractor for the project, with Vertec Roofing & Cladding overseeing the installation of the cladding. Proteus Facades was the primary manufacturer, supplying the facades that has defined the distinctive architectural landscape of the campus.

The primary products used in the Sawston Unity Campus project were Proteus HR panels in a 1.5mm aluminium finish, manufactured in sizes up to 3.9 meters. These panels were enhanced with extruded aluminium fins featuring a Tiger Drylac PPC finish, replicating the aesthetic of bronze Anolok 545 and 543. The choice of Proteus HR cladding was driven by several key considerations, including the ability to powder coat the panels to emulate anodised finishes closely, meeting the project’s aesthetic requirements while adhering to budget constraints.

The decision to use a powder coated finish rather than traditional anodisation was pivotal in achieving a sophisticated and modern architectural look. Additionally, the expertise of Proteus in fabricating fins was a significant advantage. The architectural fins not only contributed to the building’s visual appeal but also helped balance daylight and prevent overheating, aligning with the vision of Nicholas Hare Architects.

The installation of the Proteus HR system and architectural fins was carried out by Vertec Roofing and Cladding, showcasing a systematic and strategic approach. The process involved a hook fixing method to secure the panels to the Proteus HR system. Continuous channels were affixed to vertical studs within the steel framing system, ensuring structural stability and durability.

A key feature of the installation was the placement of mullion support rails, which allowed the vertical fins to connect directly to the mullions. This design reduced the number of support rails and brackets needed, minimising thermal bridging across the facade brackets. The flexible and customisable arrangement of panels, independent of the vertical studs, facilitated a versatile panel placement, meeting specific design considerations.

The central location of the project required careful logistical planning to avoid disruptions. Effective communication and coordination ensured that deliveries were timed and booked in advance, allowing for smooth installation without access difficulties or significant disruption to the working environment.

The project was completed on time, within budget, and to the client’s satisfaction. The collaboration between Proteus Facades and Vertec was crucial to this success. Vertec’s comprehensive product training at Proteus Facades’ offices ensured a high level of proficiency in the installation process, contributing to the project’s efficiency and positive outcomes.