UCLan Social Spaces, Preston
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) commissioned ‘social spaces’ with the aim of encouraging students to stay longer on its Preston campus.
Architecture and building consultancy practice, AHR, sought to design and create a striking space that engaged with students. Key design features include a projecting entrance canopy, glass roofs and an indoor hidden garden, as well as moveable furniture so students can reconfigure the space to suit their needs.
Part of a £200m campus masterplan, the development comprises the Foster Building and Harrington Building
Proteus Facades’ supplied its Rimex ColourTex Pyramid Black stainless steel cladding for the front low level aspects of both buildings because it creates a tough, impact resistant surface – the pyramid patterned finish hides scratches, dents and other impact damage, making it ideal for a high traffic student area
Aside from its physical robustness, the three-dimensional pyramid pattern gives the black added depths and texture, creating a lively and reflective facade.
Pre-coated aluminium Euromax AnoMax Ultra Matt Grey Black finish was then used to clad the high level canopy fascia, again on both buildings. The anodised-effect of the AnoMax creates a subtle contrast to the pyramid patterned ColourTex, establishing a fusion of textures and colours.
The primary reason for specifying Euromax AnoMax cladding material was because it offers excellent colour consistency due to the coil painting process. This helped accentuate the clean crisp lines of the Proteus cladding panels which feature a tight radii at the edges that visually elongate the linear sightlines characteristic of good design.
“The guidance from Proteus enabled us to identify a cladding solution for UCLan that met the strict aesthetic and physical performance requirements of the ‘social spaces’ buildings,” said Steven Leung from AHR. “The quality of this development reflects the uncompromising approach of all the project partners and we certainly valued the knowledge and expertise of the Proteus team in proposing appropriate cladding solutions.”
Both the ColourTex and AnoMax materials were specified on the Proteus HR honeycomb panel system. This is a sandwich cladding panel that features a linked geometric honeycomb core. This was structurally bonded to the ColourTex and AnoMax outer skins at UCLan. The result was a cladding panel with high bending stiffness and overall low density.
This allowed the designers to minimize the amount of material used, reducing weight loadings on the structure and delivering a more cost effective outcome due to the honeycomb core allowing thinner outer skin thicknesses whilst still retaining an optically flat panel. The Proteus HR honeycomb core also reduced weight loadings on the 5m overhanging canopy that announces the point of arrival for students, avoiding the need for overly obtrusive support columns.
Main contractor at UCLan was Conlon Construction Ltd and the façade was installed by Preston-based Architectural Glazing & Facades. The development is part of UCLan’s £200million Masterplan that is being rolled out over the next five years. The new social spaces were complete earlier in 2018.
Proteus Facades offer a wide range of Rimex ColourTex materials, including up to 20 different surface patterns, along with Pyramid. AnoMax from Proteus is a range of pre-coated aluminium that creates the anodizing-look, whilst offering greater scope to incorporate shapes and forms within the façade.
Photography by Charlie Birchmore c/o RIMEX