West Yorkshire History Centre, Wakefield

West Yorkshire History Centre, Wakefield

Proteus SC
Broadway Maylan

Perforated cladding from Proteus Facades has helped award-winning architect Broadway Malyan create a striking aesthetic for the £6.4m West Yorkshire History Centre in Wakefield.

The architects specified Proteus SC Tray Panel system for the single skin perforated panels that form bold, sweeping diagonal patterns across the façade.

Wrapped around the entire building, the perforated ‘skin’ on West Yorkshire History Centre delivers an aesthetic like no other. Executed in polyester powder coated aluminium, the perforations give the panels various degrees of opaqueness, with back lighting in the evening accentuate the effect, forging a dramatic, changing façade.

During the day, the cladding plays with natural light, creating a sense of weightlessness that avoids the issue on some structures where a solid facade overly-dominates its surroundings.

The overall effect is one where the facade appears to ‘float’ over the underlying structure, with the diagonally-swept perforations creating a 20 metre high building that signals a modern new outlook for West Yorkshire History Centre.

In order to achieve the design requirements, each of the perforated panels had to be manufactured to a specific drawing reference and to millimetre tolerances by Proteus Facades. This involved changing the location, number and layout of the perforations on each panel. The pitch of the holes also had to vary to ensure the centres passed seamlessly over panel joints.

“Our initial design concept for this project was one that had a perforated façade to create a striking visual effect during that day and at night,” said Joanna Cebrat from Broadway Malyan. “We choose to work with Proteus because they demonstrated an ability to manufacture the panels to exacting tolerances and that was critical to creating this stunning, geometric form.”

Proteus SC is an engineered panel system that is available in either solid, perforated or expanded mesh formats, and in an extensive range of metals, colours, textures and forms. The single skin perforated panels at West Yorkshire History Centre were manufactured from 4mm aluminium sheet metal with an Alesta February 4 powder coated paint finish.

Each perforated panel was supported by the Proteus aluminium carrier system and ancillary components anchored to the underlying masonry structure. These allowed the panels to be hooked-on, accentuating the sheer, smooth façade interrupted only by the perforated design.

The rail system supplied by Proteus comprises a 125 x 50mm mullion, which was designed to span floor to floor with large cantilevers fixed from the first floor slab and connected to the bespoke designed steel work at roof level to allow the building to form the profile required.

The hanging system to support the panels at the arrow head of the building again required a bespoke design from Proteus in order to achieve the visual requirements set by the designers as well as creating a robust roofline in this elevated, exposed position.

The cladding contractor in this project was Longworth Building Envelope Services and Bardsley Construction acting as main contractor.

Proteus engineered the panels around specific budget requirements to achieve the best possible outcome for the client and the architects. The £6.4m development was jointly funded by the five West Yorkshire Councils, West Yorkshire Joint Services and with a £3.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

West Yorkshire History Centre now houses over 10 million historical records in an environment where there are strict controls over levels of natural light and temperature inside the building.



  • Proteus SC PPC
  • Proteus SC PPC
  • Proteus SC PPC