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CitySpace, University of Sunderland, by FaulknerBrowns Architects

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[Product Specification] The University of Sunderland’s CitySpace is a landmark facility that provides a combination of activities – social, sports and events – within a distinctive envelope made of an unusual selection of materials

The use of coloured glazing animates the glistening white facades and creates a distinctive character to the spaces internally. At night the building displays its colourful heart by letting viewers outside see into the building. The specification of denser, less translucent coloured panels also helps to alleviate solar gain on the southern elevation.

Consideration was given to the specification of the internal doors to enhance performance. For example, the sports hall doors use squash court ironmongery to eliminate protrusions that could cause injury or interfere with play.

Specified Products

External Curtain walling and windows Technal MX Grid system comprising MX3308, MX3303, MX3701 in 52mm box sections, polyester powder coated

Coloured glazing Vanceva external glazing in variation of greens 4294, 346A, 428A, 0242, 0238 in 32mm double glazed unites

External cladding ThyssenKrupp Building Systems Bi-Modular cladding panel, 3000x900x140mm with 95 per cent zinc, five per cent aluminium PVDF finish

Internal doors 44mm-thick Halspan Core doors in types Lite 30, Optima 30 and 60, Prima 30 and 60, Prima 30 and 60 panelled, Halspan 90 UK, Halspan 120 with Egger Zoom Laminate finish in U961 ST2 Graphite & U630 ST 15 Lime Green

Iron Mongery Hardware Supplies, 19mm lever handles and pull handles in stainless steel finish

External steel doors Crown Doors and Shutters, two skins of 1.2mm steel with a 40mm fire board core. Polyester powder coated (PPC) finish

Revolving door 3m diameter, PPC Besam revolving door RD4/A2

Concrete blocks Forticrete Texture Hi-Light Block in Sports Green 450x225x100mm

Project Details

Names of Project CitySpace, University of Sunderland
Start on site May 2008
Completion August 2009
Form of contract Two-stage design and build contract with contractor’s design
GIA 4,034m²
Construction cost £7.5 million
Client University of Sunderland
ArchitectFaulknerBrowns Architects
Structural engineer Buro Happold
Services consultant Atkins (pre-novation) Emcor and DTA (post-novation)
Cost consultant Todd Milburn Partnership
Project manager Elliott Dent
Main contractor Morgan Sindall
Annual CO2 emissions 323.47kgCO2m²

Materials key

Click on image to enlarge

01. Homogeneous concrete
White reconstructed stone, Spanish dolomite aggregate in 4x3m panels in a rectilinear pattern. Panel faces are acid-etched to achieve a consistent colour.

02. Technal
MX Grid glazing system with low profile framing set back in concrete cladding to appear frameless.www.technal.co.uk

03. Vanceva
Coloured interlayer animates internal spaces in variations of green. The specification of denser, less translucent colours also helps alleviate solar gain on the south elevation.

04. Egger Zoom
An extension and continuation of the dark grey bi-modular cladding, green glazing, and cladding panels within the internal space. The product has a hard-wearing finish, minimising future maintenance requirements.

05. Hardware Supplies

This product has a high-quality, robust stainless-steel finish, suited to the intensive levels of use within a university environment.

06. Desso
Desso’s Flux carpet tiles in bright green were specified in feature areas of the gym.

07. Desso
Desso’s Reclaim tiles in 500 x 500mm squares were used as the circulation route carpet to promise acoustic absorption.

08. Artigo
1000 x 1000mm Zero 4 orange tiles were selected for the juice bar area to co-ordinate with the bar and draw customers in with its bright coloured finish.

09. Camira Fabrics   
Madura Xtreme Plus, a durable fabric, was chosen for the seating in a bright green finish to coordinate with the overall colour scheme.

Architect’s choices

The coloured glazing provides playful additions to the internal spaces during the day, and a colourful ‘heart’ after dark. The varied hues interact with the white concrete panels and give the building a unique identity. The pre-cast concrete cladding panels on the south facade creates a bold language for this landmark building.
Andrew Kane, partner, FaulknerBrowns Architects


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  • The rooflight detail appears to show no consideration to the run-off of rainwater and the consequential staining which will occur...

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