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working details: Production centre, Theatre Royal, Plymouth Ian Ritchie Architects

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A rainscreeen cladding of phosphor bronze alloy mesh

To isolate them from noisy workshops, the theatre's three rehearsal spaces are designed as 'pods', linked by acoustic lobbies. Their steel portal-frame structures and precast concrete plank roofs are covered with an insulated single-layer roof membrane.

The walls are 'wrapped'with phosphor bronze woven wire mesh cladding with galvanised steel-framed glazing below. Parapets are clad with natural zinc to match other elevations.

The bronze mesh is a 'soft and tactile'pillowed rainscreen to an insulated and weatherproof metal stud wall. To accommodate thermal expansion and to avoid 'flapping'and work hardening, the mesh is tensioned against three layers of compressive geotextile mat, giving it form.

The mesh is a 'Dutch'weave with a 0.4mm diameter warp wire set at 10 to the inch and a 0.3mm diameter weft wire set at 95 to the inch; this provides the required longevity, visual opacity and limits stretch within the mesh. Phosphor bronze is a 95/5 copper alloy needing no surface treatment and weathering to form a patina of black, green and gold.

The mesh is fixed in 1mwide panels, up to 7.5m high and separated by a 10mm joint. The vertical edges of each panel are wrapped around stainless steel strips and perforated with eyelets, providing sufficient pull-out strength for the stainless steel security fixings.All edges are fixed through a cedar batten covered with bronze mesh and sealed to the stud wall by a butyl strip.

All materials used in the cladding system are nonferrous to avoid bi-metallic corrosion with the bronze. A stainless steel drip sheds the bronze run-off water away from the glazing below.

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