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AN EXTERNAL WALL WITH AN INSULATED RENDER FINISH

Working details

The business school and the economics department of the university share a three-storey T-shaped building. The accomodation consists of computer suites, staff facilities and small cellular offices on both sides of a central corridor.

The elevations of the wing which the business school occupies are finished with different materials. The north elevation presents a public face to the main road of the campus, clad with terracotta render which rises to a parapet at the eaves. The south elevation, shown left, looks out on to playing fields; on the ground floor the landscaped grounds rise to window-sill level. The wall is finished with cream-coloured render and sheltered with a horizontal louvre screen at the eaves which - in the architect's words - 'forms a translucent layer between building and sky'.

The structure is a cast in-situ reinforced concrete frame - the concrete floors are supported by colums. On the perimeter of the building the columns are rectangular (200 x 600mm) in shape; internally they are circular and exposed along the corridor walls. An rc ring beam supports a steel roof structure covered with a standing seam aluminium long-plank roof.

The external walls comprise a proprietary lightweight steel studwork system braced with 12mm ply sheathing, filled with thermal insulation and finished with a Permarock render system. The steel studwork is fixed to head and base channels. The base channel is fixed to the floor slab; the head channel is designed to accommodate deflection between the wall and the concrete structure - it is restrained with a sliding joint to allow movement. The movement joint is expressed on the elevation as a continuous horizontal mastic joint set between proprietary stops in the render finish, and runs just above the windows.

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