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A WALL OF BRICK CLADDING PANELS

BUILDING STUDY; BIRMINGHAM FOYER

The new four-storey L-shaped building houses 80 young people. The ground floor contains training rooms; upper floors contain bedrooms and bathrooms with shared cooking/dining areas. The bedrooms are set in a single row on the inner side of the L-shape, overlooking a courtyard, with access corridors along the outer side to act as buffer zones against the noise of the adjacent roundabout and ring road. Tall, narrow 'slot' windows with splayed reveals light the corridors to give glimpses of the outside world.

The building has a steel frame - steel columns and beams supporting floors of precast concrete planks with in-situ topping. The public areas to the ground floor are glazed with a curtain-wall system and set back from the upper floors; clear solar-control glass fritted with graded dots is used on the south facade. The upper floors are clad with brickwork panels resting on 254 x 102mm universal beams; the blockwork inner leaf rests on the main structural tie beam.

The brickwork panels are designed to express the fact that they are non- loadbearing; they are separated from one another by vertical bands of slot windows and, at each floor level, by a horizontal aluminium band which covers the universal beam and gives tolerance. The panels are divided by 20mm-wide horizontal movement joints and by 20mm-wide reinforced vertical movement joints in front of the structural columns. The joints emphasise the non-loadbearing nature of the panels. The brickwork of Marshalls' Lincoln Red bricks was pointed in matching mortar with bucket-handle joints. Velfac composite timber windows were chosen as they are fully reversible for cleaning.

A bull-nose fascia of pressed aluminium, fixed with metal straps, runs along the eaves. The roof is a single-ply membrane on an insulated profiled deck.

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