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

Wells Malting, Norfolk

Wells Maltings, a former 19th century malt house in Wells-next-the-Sea, has undergone an award winning refurbishment and extension in a bid to revitalise the building and turn it into North Norfolk’s premier Arts & Heritage Centre.

Choice of façade material for the newly built extension was always going to be critical to the overall success of the project. Proteus HR TECU Brass was specified because it created an aesthetic that was distinct yet sympathetic with the Grade II listed brick and flint walls of the existing building.

The TECU Brass will gradually mature over time to warm earthy tones, creating an aesthetically pleasing patina that will continue to complement the original brick and flint walls on the Malthouse. The Proteus HR TECU Brass rainscreen cladding was installed by Varla Cladding Ltd.

The brief to architects Chaplin Farrant was to create a new, year-round destination for artists, locals and tourists that serves as a cultural heart of the community. The designers succeeded in this, creating a flexible space that is used by a diverse range of groups, as well as maintaining the heritage of the existing Maltings. A new glazed full-height atrium acts as a buffer between the two distinct structures with an expansive roof lantern flooding the space with natural light.

The Proteus TECU Brass clad extension is a similar size to the original building and now announces Wells Maltings as one of Norfolk’s most significant new architectural designs in a long time.

Featuring vertically elongated Proteus HR TECU Brass rainscreen panels on the impressive façade with a traditional handcrafted zinc roof, the new art building is a striking design that establishes a new identify for the whole town. While clever detailing between the zinc roof and Proteus HR TECU Brass panels offer a seamless transition between the two elements, removing bimetallic corrosion challenges and providing a modern twist to a historic old building.

Proteus HR is a lightweight honeycomb panel system that delivers a high strength, exceptionally flat, cost effective solution. This enabled Chaplin Farrant to design this unique, eye catching and award winning project within the client’s original budget. The Maltings secured support from Heritage Lottery Fund and a range of partnership funders and individuals

The Proteus HR TECU Brass cladding at Wells Malting creates an outer rainscreen that protects the inner structure from wind and rain. The majority of Proteus rainscreen cladding systems, like those at Wells Maltings, are baffle jointed, allowing a rear ventilated cavity to circulate air, protecting the inner structure from moisture.

Rightly so, the Wells Malting project has been nominated for a number of awards. Highly Commended in the Graham Allen Awards, which celebrates projects considered to have made the most significant contribution to the built environment within the district, and recently shortlisted for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) East of England Awards in both the Commercial and Community Benefit categories. The awards recognise excellence in the built environment and showcase the successes of RICS professionals and their impact on local communities.

Proteus offers one of the widest ranges of TECU copper and copper alloys in the UK. This includes TECU Brass, TECU Copper, TECU Bronze, TECU Gold, TECU Zinn, a tin-plated copper that offers all the advantages of copper but weathers from silver to subtle grey tones.

The materials are 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.

Wells Maltings remains a historic building but with a twist; a striking example of how old and new architectural styles and materials can work together. The completed project creates a cultural landmark and an inviting, contemporary community space featuring a state-of-the-art theatre and cinema, Heritage Centre, Visitor Information Centre, attractive café and bar and art gallery.

 

Photography by Sarah Toon Photography

High Wycombe Leisure Centre

Skilful design by Space & Place Architects has avoided the large hill-top building imposing itself in a part of High Wycombe that contains areas of outstanding natural beauty.

High Wycombe Leisure Centre is clad mainly in aluminium, with Proteus HR TECU Patina used to create a striking Verdigris green copper clad entrance pod that projects outwards from the main building and overhangs the reception foyer.

A combination of skilful design and careful choice of façade material overcame the main challenge on this project, which is common to all sports centre buildings; that of minimising the visual impact of what are large square box-like structures.

At 10,750 m², including an 8 lane 50m swimming pool, 12 court sports hall, health suite, 150 station fitness suite, squash courts and bowls hall, the building had the potential to overly dominate its surroundings.

Avoiding this was helped by choosing copper cladding fixed to lightweight composite panels which enabled Space & Place Architects to minimise weight loadings on the overhanging entrance pod, accentuating the ‘floating’, gravity defying aesthetic. Supporting by only two slender steel pillars, the TECU Patina copper clad pod appears to hover over the main building like an otherworldly, organic apparition.

The rectangular TECU Patina panels are fixed in a vertical arrangement to create an eye-catching contrast to the thin, elongated, horizontal aluminium panels of the main façade. This mix of materials, panel design and colours compartmentalise the building, again minimising its visual impact on the landscape.

TECU Patina from Proteus offers the beautiful natural Verdigris green appearance of aged copper from the outset, and which would otherwise build up over the years through the natural oxidation process. This innovative cladding material bypasses the gradual development of the earthy tones through natural weathering.

Proteus HR, which has a honeycomb core, is an integrated modular rainscreen cladding system that offers a flat façade with recessed joints. It is available in steel, aluminium, zinc, stainless steel, copper alloys and other materials. The honeycomb core on Proteus HR minimises material use, whilst still retaining an optically flat panel, meaning it is a practical solution on a wider range of projects.

The Proteus HR TECU Patina cladding was fixed to lightweight Paroc composite panels with fire resistant stone-wool cores by MIZ Consultancy Ltd. The combination of insulated composite panel to form the inner leaf of the overhanging pod and visually striking copper clad outer enabled the architects to realise their vision for a ‘floating’ entrance feature.

Paul Clayton, Associate Director at Space & Place architects, said: “We choose to clad the entrance area at High Wycombe Sports Centre in pre-patinated copper panels because it created a distinct yet subtle point of arrival for visitors. We went through options for appearance of the building with Wycombe council, as it’s positioned at the top of hill in a residential area. We felt that the copper cladding from Proteus softened the building’s appearance on the side that faces open country and beyond.”

Proteus worked closely with the glazing partner on this project to ensure that the large glass panels integrated seamlessly with the copper cladding, accentuating the sheer smooth aesthetic of the entrance façade.

Copper is one of the most versatile, attractive and adaptable architectural cladding materials available, providing consistent performance and a high level of aesthetic appeal. Advances in the oxidation process means that Proteus us now able to offer a wider diversity of green Verdigris patinations as well as alternative colours such as blue and red tones.

For those seeking the bright copper aesthetic before oxidation takes place, Proteus offer TECU Classic, optionally available with a special coating to stop the natural weathering process.

TECU Oxid offers a softer, aged beauty of natural earthy copper tones but which hasn’t yet reached the green Verdigris appearance.

Wycombe Sports Centre has doubled its membership since it opened. The main contractor on this project was Wilmott Dixon.

To read our blog about the options available with our copper cladding, click here.

Chester Theatre, Chester

Executed in Proteus HR TECU copper, the ribbed, abstracted rainscreen clad fins envelope the 150-seat studio theatre that sits on top of the main auditorium, creating a presence like no other.

The copper fins announce the new studio theatre, jutting outwardly and inwardly, with their slotted appearance being described as a touch of ‘1920s German Expressionist theatre’.

Clad entirely in Proteus rainscreen cladding this ‘copper pavilion’ jauntily points to the Chester skyline, bookending the western corner of the elongated square building, which is framed at one side by the town hall and cathedral at the other.

It was Cheshire West and Chester council that stepped in with a bold plan to deliver this £37m vision for transforming the Grade II-listed Odeon cinema building. Charged with implementing this ambitious plan was multi RIBA-award winning architects Bennetts Associates.

Bright and bold, the Proteus rainscreen clad studio theatre sits confidently above the much larger 800-seat theatre, comprising the new build elements. What was the existing Odeon has been transformed into a 94-seat ‘boutique’ cinema, library, restaurant/bar and café.

Visitors to the building cannot fail to notice that Bennetts Associates’ striking design makes a central play of the Proteus copper cladding. The gleaming, protruding copper-clad box will transition over time to an oxidised green that will echo the appearance of the original Odeon roof.

The Proteus HR cladding now cuts across the green tinged cast-glass panels and striated brickwork of Storyhouse, compositionally breaking up and blurring the lines between the refurbished and new build elements.

“The success of the Storyhouse design lies in the way the extension containing the theatre spaces was added to the shell of the Grade 2 listed 1930s Odeon. Whilst the proportions of the extension relate directly to the historic brick cinema, we used copper and glass to create the elevations, to provide contrast and to identify the main elements of the new building.

Proteus HR TECU cladding is used to clad the studio theatre and bar, which is expressed as an overhanging element on the skyline of the building. The flatness of the panels and the long-term beauty of the natural copper finish were key to this decision,” said Simon Erridge, Project Director, Bennetts Associates.

Storyhouse has been designed to the highest standards for audience comfort and sightlines. The same rigour has been applied to the rainscreen cladding, both visually and technically. The Proteus HR copper panels are fitted to rigid vertical mullions that are anchored to the backing wall with adjustable support brackets.

The intimate space that is enveloped with Proteus copper cladding looks set to become the hardest working space in the building. Retractable seating has been incorporated to allow for a flat floor for workshops and rehearsals, while as a performance space its intimacy allows for a close relationship between actor and audience.

Main contractor at Chester Storyhouse was Kier North West, with the cladding installed by Curtis Moore (Cladding Systems) Ltd.

JW3 (Jewish Community Centre) London

Proteus HR panels in artisan burnished TECU brass form a solid rainscreen base to the lower ground floor of the RIBA award-winning 35,000ft2 building while perforated single-skin Proteus SC panels, installed outside full-length glazing, screen elements of the first and second floors.

Ten years in the making, the project was the brainchild of Dame Vivien Duffield after she toured several Jewish Community Centres in America and was inspired by their values, in particular their principle of inclusivity, and by the quality of the facilities and programming they offered.

She set about laying the foundations for a “Jewish Community Centre without walls” in London, initially in borrowed venues, and then eventually in its own purpose-built BREEAM rated “Excellent” building in Hampstead.

Beautiful, functional and state-of-the-art, this building consciously seeks to foster community and inspire creativity through its design and its very fabric – the Proteus cladding, over brick and cast stone.

To support its ambitious programming, the building features diverse facilities arranged hierarchically over four storeys, with the most public at ground level, spilling out onto a piazza which hosts food markets and outdoor cinema as well as ice-skating during the winter.

Designed to be a place of action, of creation and output rather than consumption of culture, robust, quality materials were chosen to support the various activities.

The heart of the building is Zest, JW3’s restaurant, bar and café run by award-winning Ottolenghi-trained chefs. This is complemented by a multi-purpose hall with retractable bleacher seating and semi-sprung floor, 60-seat boutique cinema, demonstration kitchen, dance studios, crèche, meeting rooms and classrooms.

Vertical Proteus HR and SC panels also help to break up the brick street-facing façade on a nine-storey residential tower that houses 14 two-bedroomed apartments and an office level, the sale of the apartments helping to fund the community centre.