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working details - A facade with a perforated steel screen

National Space Centre, Leicester Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners

The two-storey building, containing offices, classrooms, exhibition and public access areas, is set within a disused storm water tank. The walls, horizontal bands of aluminium windows and silver sinusoidal cladding, are overlaid with screens of perforated stainless steel panels, with a 1m gap between wall and screen. By day the screen is dominant, giving privacy to offices while allowing views through;

backlit at night, it 'disappears', transforming the facade into a glowing carapace.

The building is set on a cast in situ concrete floor slab raised above the steel floor of the tank.A series of 914 x 305mm UBs and 305mmdiameter CHS columns run at the perimeter to support perforated cellular beams and a composite concrete deck roof.

The external envelope is formed of storey-high composite Ranilla panels -150mm-thick insulation slabs faced both sides with steel sheet - fixed to 90 x 90mm SHS posts.The silver polyester powder-coated sinusoidal steel cladding is fixed to the panels with vertical top-hat sections, forming a rainscreen.

The perforated stainless steel screen is fixed to a frame of concealed top-hat sections bolted to 120 x 80mm RHS supports at 2.8m centres.At the top the RHS sections are cut back and pinned with forked connectors to a 457 x 191mm UB which runs at the top of the screen, braced by projecting plates welded to the main perimeter structure.

At the base the pin connection is bolted to a base plate.

As the flat roof is clearly visible from the adjacent tower, it is covered with gravels of different colours, separated by curved steel angles to form a 'galactic spiral'.

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