Designed to be energy-efficient, the five-storey university building is naturally ventilated; the floors and the walls to the sevice cores are formed of castin-situ concrete whose thermal mass regulates temperature. The east, west and south elevations are glazed with an aluminium-framed curtain wall protected by shading to reduce solar gain.
On the east elevation, perforated aluminium panels are fixed perpendicular to the curtain wall to protect it from mid-morning to mid-day sun. The concourse, which faces south, is protected by horizontal louvres from highlevel mid-day summer sun. The west elevation is shaded by fixed retractable translucent fabric blinds.
As the offices required a high level of natural ventilation, a system of large (2.4m x 0.8m) manually and automatically opening lights was developed and tested. Two opening lights, combined with an intermediate fixed light, were preassembled into units 2.4m square. They were then site-fixed into a proprietary drained, vented and pressure-equalised pressure-plate curtainwall system with modified transom and mullion profiles. The windows are double-glazed with clear Low-E coated glass.
Spandrel panels in the facade are made of 10mm opacified glass backed with insulation and foil-backed aluminium panels. On the inside, MDF lining panels are fixed to modified curtainwall sections.
Horizontal steel walkways are fixed externally to all floors of the building except for the top floor. They give access to windows for cleaning and, as the curtainwall cannot take any load, they support the solar shades. The walkways are fixed to pairs of 30mmdiameter rods suspended from forked pin connectors fixed through projecting concrete beams at roof level; they are restrained by specially developed brackets fixed through channel-section pressure plates to the curtainwall mullions.