Sixth Coleg Cambria site features Technal systems

Providing yet another façade solution for Coleg Cambria, one of the largest colleges in the UK, Technal aluminium windows, doors and curtain walling have been specified and installed at the college’s flagship Yale Campus – the sixth Coleg Cambria site to feature Technal systems.

Assisting the project architects technically at the design stage, Technal has worked alongside fabricator and installer Westmore Architectural on all of the six campus buildings. Together, the teams have partnered with Wynne Construction, the main contractor responsible for the builds, appointed through the North Wales Construction Partnership (NWCP).

Constructed to ‘Excellent’ Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) standards, the prestigious Yale Campus is the most recent project the team has worked on. Located on the north side of Wrexham town centre, it is one of the largest projects undertaken by Coleg Cambria across its network of six campus sites, which has a base of 7,000 full time and 20,000 part time students.

Andy Garner, Wynne Construction’s senior design and building information modelling (BIM) manager, explained how important it was to have the right supply chain in place on a design-and-build project like this: “As a framework provider, we work on a design-and-build basis, so, the initial support from our supply chain technical teams is essential. We have worked with Technal project consultant, Mike Molyneux, and the Westmore Architectural team, on many occasions to achieve the right façade solutions for the Coleg Cambria builds.

“From an aluminium systems perspective, we only work with suppliers that have BIM product families with Construction Operations Building Information Exchange data built in. We also look for product quality, range of product and, importantly, at what the systems can do in terms of adaptation.”

Designed by TACP Architects, project architect Katherine Mellor explained how the glazed element complements the overall architectural design of the three-storey, 96,000ft² Yale Campus: “The façade, created using the Technal aluminium systems, sits alongside Kingspan Dri-Design aluminium rainscreen cladding, with projecting feature brickwork referencing existing buildings in the vicinity. The build mirrors our concept perfectly.”

Maximising daylight and ventilation, the glazed façade spans 1,200m² across the building. Specified for proven performance and thermal insulation, Technal curtain walling offers a fully capped, mullion-drained solution. With an aluminium substructure width of 52mm, it creates a slim sightline while also providing the necessary strength and inertia requirements.

Contributing to higher credits for the critical Energy 01 part of BREEAM, which is concerned with the reduction of energy use and carbon emissions, Technal’s A-rated Dualframe 75 Si windows offer ‘exceptional’ energy efficiency. For the Yale campus, a U-value of 1.1W/m²K was achieved. As well as being inserted within the curtain walling, the windows have also been fitted in a vertical panel format to create a striking rectangular pattern within the gold cladding.

Forming the building’s main glazed element, the curtain wall features multiple times, including on the first floor, creating a cantilevered section. Glazed in semi-translucent glass for privacy, this part of the building houses the spin studio. Spandrel panels conceal structural work, and the façade also includes an interesting glass fin detail to the building’s front and rear elevations.

Robert Moreland, Westmore Architectural’s commercial director, explained how the team worked together to make this happen: “We have established a long-standing working relationship with the Technal team, and can always rely on them for technical support, as was the case for the Yale Campus project. Working to millimetre-specific tolerances, the glass fins were made by specialist sub contractor OJ Taffinder, using Pilkington laminated glass with an opaque interlayer.

“The fins sit in front of the curtain wall. Each one is vertically fitted back through the curtain walling to the steelwork, with insulated panels cut-to-fit and installed around the bracket profiles.”

Throwing light into the stairwell, Technal curtain walling has also been fitted at different panel heights, with opaque glass to create a distinct corner feature while adding a contrasting level of transparency to the building’s design. Also contributing to the building’s Secured by Design certification, Technal Dualframe 75 Si casement windows, which meet both PAS24 and Secured by Design standards, have been installed as opening lights within the curtain wall, fitted with hinge bolts and restrictors for safety.

As part of the fire strategy, the curtain walling at ground floor level features Colt glazed-in smoke louvres. Should there be a fire, these will open automatically to draw in oxygen and ensure the smoke rises up and out of the vents in the roof.

Seven sets of the Technal 202 Commercial Door were also installed, and automated by Geze UK, to create bi-parting door openers for easy access. All of the Technal systems have been specified and finished in an Anthracite Grey powder coating (RAL 7016) to contrast with the exterior pearl beige cladding (RAL 1035) and coordinate with the statement entrances.

Dependent on the elevation, the glass specification was designed to meet thermal requirements and comprises a combination of low-emissivity glass for energy efficiency and high performance solar control glass, from Guardian SunGuard SuperNeutral 70/35, for low heat gain. The building has created a series of multi-functional lecture halls, sports facilities, reprovision of the catering facility with a fully functional restaurant, digital archive for the National Library of Wales, drama studios and a range of teaching and advanced computer suites.