Encasement conceals building services at Bedfordshire University’s new STEM labs

The University of Bedfordshire’s new four-storey science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) building in Luton is using 80 Forma decorative casings from Encasement to conceal building services and utilities while also enhancing its interior design.

Designed by MCW Architects and constructed by R.G. Carter, the £40 million building completes the university’s five-year estates development strategy, which brings the total investment to around £180 million.

More than 6,000 sq.mtrs of teaching space is provided at the STEM building’s Park Campus, which includes flexible computing laboratories, specialist containment labs and a clean room facility, as well as automotive engineering, cyber-security and robotics workshops.

The building uses a series of 525mm square concrete columns on each level for structural support, as well as being used for surface mounting building services, including data cabling, power supply and utilities pipework.

Rather than fully enclose each column, Encasement’s 3mm thick aluminium Forma casings are only installed to the faces where the building services are located, leaving the concrete visible on the other sides.

Whilst most casings are installed on just a single side, 23 of the columns have casings on two opposite faces, which leaves just the central portion of the concrete between the casings exposed.

To meet the different column specifications, Encasement manufactured three separate sizes of casing with alternative heights of 3,150mm and 2,800mm, which it also installed together with decorative brushed aluminium skirting collars and dedicated fixing brackets.

Although the Forma casings are manufactured to meet a number of different requirements and locations, they are all coated with the same RAL 9006 ‘White Aluminium’ PPC finish to integrate with the interior design colour scheme of the labs.

Encasement’s Managing Director, Martin Taylor, commented:

“Our Forma casings are regularly chosen for education sector projects as they can be manufactured to meet most profiles, sizes and specifications, as well as being ideal for high traffic and high use areas, as demonstrated within this new STEM building. In addition, they can be finished in any RAL paint colour, anodised or manufactured from textured materials, which gives designers an immense palette to choose from when considering interior or exterior designs.”

Further information on the company’s range of column casings and other architectural casing products for can be obtained by visiting www.encasement.co.uk; e-mailing sales(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)encasement.co.uk or by calling 01733 266889.