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.


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