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KAWNEER - Curtains Up For Kawneer At Cambridge

Curtain walling, windows and doors by leading architectural aluminium systems supplier Kawneer have been used on a building complex that is key to the future of Cambridge University.

Two versions of Kawneer’s AA®100 curtain walling, along with concealed window vents and series 190 and 350 doors, were installed over five months by specialist sub-contractor Drayton Windows for main contractor Willmott Dixon at the £18 million Hauser Forum.

Named after the building’s alumni sponsor, Dr Hermann Hauser, the Hauser Forum forms a new gateway to the university’s West Cambridge science and technology campus on greenbelt land to the west of the city and houses several forward-thinking departments including nanotechnology and physics for medicine.

The Forum provides office and research facilities for small start-up companies developing spin-off technologies from other university scientific research programmes. It comprises three key elements – the 2,400m² Centre for Entrepreneurship incubator building, the 5,000m² Broers R&D building, and a 600m² atrium café.

While Kawneer’s 190 heavy-duty and 350 severe-duty commercial entrance doors (the latter for automated sliding doors) feature throughout the complex, the company’s AA®100SSG (Structurally Silicone Glazed) curtain walling with mullion-drained sections has been used on the café.

Drayton Windows’ designer Scott Harwood said: “It was necessary to introduce vertical face caps to the mullions in the eight-metre cantilevered zone (11 metres including the terrace) over the feature pond. This additional capping was required to allow considerable movement in the system due to live loads imposed on the floor.

“The architect was able to make a feature of the vertical capping and introduce it to additional feature areas of the café’s glazed façade. We worked in partnership with Kawneer, as the system supplier, to achieve these solutions.”

In the café area, the curtain walling was required to span 7.5 metres in height without intermediate support and includes glass-to-glass corners with a maximum module of 1.2m x 1.8m width, again with no intermediate support permitted from the primary structure.

In addition, Kawneer’s AA®100 zone-drained curtain walling, which features 50mm sightlines, features on the R&D building and the incubator building, the latter with concealed window vents.

The café encourages the exchange of ideas across the disciplines for academics and visitors from across the campus in a social and relaxed atmosphere and this image, of the forum as a place to meet and exchange ideas, is reinforced by a large oversailing canopy which unites the elements and defines the public plaza below.

Naturally ventilated, the complex was designed by concept architects WilkinsonEyre to achieve a BREEAM “Excellent” rating and among other features incorporates extensive use of shading to the glazed areas. The project was taken through the tender stage and progressed on site by Ingenium Archial.

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