The glazed façade at M-SParc (Menai Science Park), Wales’ first dedicated science park, has been fabricated by Total Glass, using Sapa E52 aluminium curtain walling.
Located in Anglesey and operated by Bangor University, M-SParc has been constructed to BREEAM Excellent standards and comprises 5,000 sqm offices, laboratory and workshop space for up to 700 people.
Designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects, the building’s structure features a white continuous flowing ‘Ribbon’ that forms floor, wall and roof surfaces and wraps around the glazed façade to the front elevation. This two-storey entrance connects to the main three-storey, traditional brick cavity U-shape building, which houses the laboratories and offices, also featuring a façade that encloses an open courtyard.
FaulknerBrowns Architects associate and project architect, Leighton Cooksey, explained: “One of our main priorities was to deliver a façade that would ensure transparency and openness of the Tanio area. This is the innovative and collaborative space that forms the main entrance as you walk in, and is also home to the cafeteria. Driven by the location, the façade allowed us to maximise the views towards Snowdonia and make the best of this fantastic scenery.
“Another main architectural driver, not just for the façade but the building as a whole, was low energy use. We designed and constructed the three-storey building to BREEAM Excellent standards – the façade making a significant contribution.”
The complexity of the building’s curved scheme meant the design team, involving the architect, main contractor Willmott Dixon and fabricator Total Glass, supported by Sapa, worked together pre-construction to ensure input into the early stage design.
Total Glass Technical Manager Chris Valentine said: “Technically our focus was to get the interfacing detailing right between the curves of the Corian and the curtain walling, especially where drainage was concerned.
“Designed using Sapa E52, the façade spans 74m x 11m. The curtain walling had to follow the curvature and flow of the ‘Ribbon’ with the aluminium having to be curved to follow the shape at point of fabrication.”
Architect Leighton Cooksey added: “The key area for the façade to the front elevation was the first floor horizontal and sloping Corian ‘Ribbon’ – here the curtain walling continues behind the Corian rainscreen. The glazing was the main waterproof line, with structural penetrations weathered within insulated composite spandrel panels in the curtain walling. There were also some critical details in the curved corners of the glazing where the curtain wall extends behind the glass, concealed by a removable flashing.”
Creating entrance and exit doors on the linkway, Sapa’s Stormframe ST II Aluminium Door system has been installed additionally to 2.8m high, providing access for the Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) for façade cleaning purposes. Suited to high traffic areas, this high performance door is tested to the relative clauses within ‘PAS24: 2012’ and is 2010 Equality Act compliant.
A thermally insulated aluminium sliding and lift-sliding door has also been installed using Sapa’s C125 Aluminium Sliding Door system, which opens from the cafeteria on to the external courtyard space where people can sit outside. Elsewhere, the company’s Dualframe 75 HP Aluminium Hinged Door was used for the balcony doors above ground floor level.
Throughout the building, 132 Sapa DF 75 Si casement windows have been installed, some as inserts within the curtain wall façade including automatic opening vents, and also to the courtyard elevations. Completing this contemporary outdoor space, the windows are complemented by timber rainscreen panels, with hit and miss battens of varying heights, and the blue-grey contrast of the Staffordshire Blue Brindle brick.
Two glass specifications were used across the building, solar control 7535 and 2918, which provides the dramatic reflective style externally. All of the façade systems were finished in a grey RAL 7031 marine powder coat finish due to the location and standard hardware was installed throughout.