When architectural glazing specialist, Dortech, required a curtain walling system that could fit the performance and aesthetic requirements for the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC), Technal MX62 curtain walling system was specified.


Designed by architects Simpson Haugh and Reiach and Hall, the EIC is being built for the University of Central Lancashire by BAM Construction, a major player in the education sector. Dortech is providing a design, manufacture and installation package for all of the curtain walling on the five-storey structure.


As a key part of the masterplan for the Preston campus, the £32 million EIC is due to open next year, providing the university and Lancashire based manufacturers with state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. It is expected to help train an extra 500 graduates, including an increased number of female students, gaining degrees in subjects such as mechanical, energy technologies and aerospace engineering.


Throughout the project Dortech faced a number of technical challenges including; the building’s proximity to a very busy roundabout, the floor to floor heights, physical security, and the expected levels of solar gain; as well as design detailing requirements.


Having a total glazed area of 3,100 m2, the MX62 curtain wall carries over 40 different types of IG units, measuring up to 1050mm wide by 4450mm high, and weighing 260 kg; without requiring additional frame reinforcement. As well as standard cappings and accessories, the design solution includes the use of 200mm long extended square cappings to the vertical frame elements and soffit.


High density foam inserts were utilised along with decoupling joints in the mullion sections to achieve 50 Dnfw flanking sound reduction, as well as 37 dB sound reduction for noise from outside the building. The IG units vary in thickness from 31.8 mm up to 38.8mm, with the latter containing a 10mm CoolLite SKN toughened outer leaf, and 12.8mm clear laminated glass for the inner leaf, separated by a 16mm argon filled cavity.


In addition to achieving high levels of thermal insulation, being fabricated from aluminium, the MX curtain wall frame elements can be upcycled, helping the building to achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent.


The Project Manager for BAM Construction, Simon Atkinson, commented: “We proposed the use of the Technal curtain wall system as part of our value engineering proposal for the project. It offers the best value for money in terms of its cost and performance while meeting the aesthetic requirements. This is in fact a continuation of the successful partnership established with Dortech, Technal and the cladders at the University of Liverpool Materials Innovation Facility, helping to build our reputation in delivering education sector projects.”


Project Architect Chris Walker at SimpsonHaugh added: “This has been a demanding project, but the Technal system along with Dortech’s experience and professional approach has enabled us to meet all of our design aspirations for the elevations including the resolution of some difficult fire and acoustic details. The curtain walling is a large part of the Architecture of the EIC with the main façade onto Corporation St consisting completely of the Technal system and aluminium extrusions by Dortech. The results so far are fantastic and we are excited to see the building complete in January 2019”.


Technal is part of the Hydro Group, a world leader in aluminium solutions that also encompasses sister brand WICONA. Through its globally renowned Hydro Technology Hubs, the group is shaping a sustainable future, with innovative products that satisfy and surpass customer expectations, in line with demands of CSR and increasing environmental regulations.


For more information, please visit

Focused on public sector projects in Wales and the North-West, fabricator, Bretton Architectural is celebrating 25 years of working with Hydro Group and its Technal systems through its involvement on Phase II of an architecturally acclaimed student accommodation development in Liverpool.


Constructed within the Mossley Hill Conservation Area, the parkland surrounding the University of Liverpool’s Greenbank student residences was gifted to the university by the Rathbone family in 1939; still offering a unique environment today. Crucially the designs by Shepard Robson for the new buildings, including the use of MX curtain walling and other Technal systems, respond sympathetically to the verdant setting.


The Greenbank residences replace outdated buildings and have been arranged around three landscaped courtyards, rising from five to eight storeys in height, creating 1,370 new en-suite study bedrooms. The main contractor for the scheme, which is due for completion soon, is the University of Liverpool Construction Company Special Projects (ULCCO SP), while – following on from successfully completing Phase I, North West based Bretton Architectural is supplying Technal products for Phase II.


Its package includes the design, manufacture and installation of some 2,000 m2 of MX curtain wall, FY65 windows and PY doors, all offering high thermal performance and finished in a RAL 7016 Matt Anthracite Grey polyester powder coat.


The windows on Phase I comprised a mix of top hung outward opening, and tilt-and-turn units, all featuring multi-point locking with locking espagnolette handles and restrictors that allow ventilation yet provide safety from falls. The thermally broken frames and 28mm gas filled IG units provide a U-value performance of 1.0 W/m2K.


The MD of Bretton Architectural, Peter Igoe, commented: “We have been awarded the Phase II contract for the Greenbank Residences based on our performance during the first phase, and the competitiveness of our quote. ULCCO SP has proved a very good, very professional client to work for, while education projects like this, hospitals and other public sector buildings form a major part of the work we do across North Wales and the North-west of England.


“Bretton Architectural was set up in 1993 and we have used Technal systems since the very beginning: enjoying excellent cooperation and support from the company.”


The Design Manager for ULCCO SP, Thomas Alexander, offered his perspective on the project saying: “This is the third contract where we have worked with Bretton Architectural and Technal, having originally delivered the Management School Extension on campus after the University of Liverpool took the unique step of setting up its own Special Projects division, ULCCO SP.


“They have all gone well but one of the key features we agreed on Greenbank was for all of the curtain walling and windows to be procured ahead of time – to be stored at Bretton’s premises – rather than relying on ‘just-in-time’ manufacturing. This has not only avoided the sort of delays that had caused problems for schemes historically, but also avoided storing sections and glass on site: having loads of lay-down areas. This helps keep the site clean and safe and is a procedure we would probably use again. With the university having a 20-year masterplan, there is the prospect of further cooperation in the future.”


Project Architect Luke Green added: “The materials, scale and massing of the design have been developed to reflect both the character of the conservation area, and the distinctive mature landscape of the Greenbank site. The overall effect is of a series of distinct blocks with a shared architectural language that balances modernity with contextual references, allowing improved sightlines into the park landscape, and reinforcing the setting of Greenbank House.”


Technal is part of the Hydro Group, a world leader in aluminium solutions that also encompasses sister brand WICONA. Through its globally renowned Hydro Technology Hubs, the group is shaping a sustainable future, with innovative products that satisfy and surpass customer expectations, in line with demands of CSR and increasing environmental regulations.