The elevations were then mapped out, and in so doing, created a deliberate random tonal pattern that would both imitate and compliment the quality of stone synonymous with Cambridge’s architectural heritage.
Working in collaboration with façade specialist Dane Architectural enabled the design to be developed towards a light weight façade solution that combines GRC fin shaped columns and feature beams fixed directly over areas of the curtain wall grid system at locations where insulated panels were present.
This strategy had several advantages, in the first instance a weather tight structure was provided early on in the
programme, whilst the GRC façade option provided a much lighter solution that provided significant savings in both cost and time. The access strategy, based on mast climber platforms adapted to include lifting beams, enabled glazing and GRC panels to be hoisted swiftly into position.
Further considerations to the GRC design included the decision to only use three different types of fin profile. This enabled both quality and consistency associated with maximising efficiencies with high repetition in the manufacturing process.
The north elevation required little shading so the fin profile was quite minimal in comparison to those designed for the south.
Here a higher solar gain ratio area to glass of 1:1 was required.
On the east and west elevations the same profile was used with the ability to invert the fin and further create an interesting rhythm to the façade.
Despite the numerous challenges identified and remedied during the lengthy time-scale from inception to completion, the building managed to achieve a BREEAM “Excellent” rating.