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Office facade detail: One New Change by Sidell Gibson Architects

[WORKING DETAIL 11.11.10] Facade detail for central London scheme by Ateliers Jean Nouvel/ Sidell Gibson Architects

The typical office facade comprises a female-female type unitised curtain wall system, with double glazing structurally bonded to a cassette that is screw-fixed to the mullion and transom grid in the factory. The physical separation of the glazing cassette and the main structural mullion and transom sections allows flexibility in the orientation of the glazed planes relative to the major mullions and transoms.

The cassette can be fixed at orientations not orthogonal to mullions – the variation being accommodated by a line of EPDM gaskets designed for a range of cassette orientations. This allows the typical system to be adapted to accommodate the multi-faceted geometry of some parts of the facade.

An early decision was taken to align major mullions with the main north-south grid, even though few of the glazed planes are orientated orthogonal to this direction. Panels could be installed simply from a single direction without overlaps, and this also established a single fixed principle for the frame geometry, allowing other framing interfaces to be determined. The more obvious approach of initially offsetting all internal framing members perpendicular to the glazing planes does not work for the geometries of this facade, producing irresolvable interfaces internally.

Sanya Tomic, partner, Sidell Gibson Architects
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