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working details

Armagh Theatre and Arts CentreGlenn Howells Architects

The envelope of the arts centre is constructed of polished white precast concrete to reflect the local Armagh limestone.

The walls are 100mm-thick precast ashlar panels stackbonded with stainless steel bed-joint reinforcement and tied back to the inner blockwork leaf of the cavity wall. The foyer roof comprises 22 polished white precast units, each 7.2m x 3.6m x 350mm thick, weighing up to 12 tonnes. They rest at their corners on 350mm-diameter precast columns, each up to 8.1m high, and along their 3.6m edges on steel beams set in the walls.

The walls and roof units were cast with a mix of Derbyshire limestone coarse aggregate, Spanish Dolomite fines and white cement. The roof units were cast from a single steel-lined timber mould which was adapted as necessary to accommodate the various unit types.

Formers were used to create voids for downlighters and wall washer luminaires, rainwater disposal systems and fire detectors.

A row of precast louvres at each end of the roof units were individually made in advance and placed into the mould before the main unit was cast. Soffits and exposed vertical faces were finished to match the wall panels; the soffits were polished with a floor grinder fitted with diamond-impregnated abrasive pads.

The louvres are covered with pitched rooflights. The roof units are covered in an insulated ply deck on treated timber spacers, 60mm insulation and precast pavers on spacer pads. Rainwater is directed through insulated pipes running between the timber spacers to box gutters at the junction between roof units and to downpipes fixed in the walls.

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