Kawneer systems help regenerate a city

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Smithfield scheme features Kawneer glazing systems.

Architectural glazing systems from Kawneer feature on a striking new building that is key to the regeneration of a city and was built using a hybrid of traditional and modular construction methods.

Kawneer’s AA®100 and AA®110 curtain walling, both zone-drained but with 50mm and 65mm sightlines respectively, complemented by 451PT framing with 50mm sightlines and AA®540 side-hung casement windows, were used on Two Smithfield, the new £15 million office built as part of the first phase of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Smithfield scheme.

Smithfield is the new mixed-use quarter for Stoke-on-Trent by developer Genr8, comprising 1.2 million ft2 of office, retail and hotel space. The project will also deliver more than 270,000ft2 of new public realm.

The first phase of the Smithfield project was completed in August 2015 and comprises 220,000ft2 of bespoke Grade A office accommodation. One Smithfield has a new customer hub from which the council delivers its primary services and will also house police and other public sector partners.

Two Smithfield includes ground-floor commercial units totalling 7,500ft2 and comprises four floors of offices, two of which have already been let to Water Plus. This is a joint venture between two of the country’s biggest water companies, United Utilities and Seven Trent Water. It is bringing over 400 new jobs to the city. The other floors are currently being marketed by Bilfinger GVA

The new buildings are set in stunning new public realm, including a new public square which is available as performance and event space.

Much of the 125,000ft2 Two Smithfield building consisted of components utilising modular manufacturing, such as precast concrete panels and brickwork cornices and glazed brick elements which were completed off-site.

The four-hectare site was historically a manufacturing area for the brick and ceramic industries and was littered with mine shafts and coal seams which required piling. Design of the masterplan was conceived in 2009 by Aedas RHWL.

Designed by frequent Kawneer specifiers Aedas RHWL architects, Two Smithfield’s curtain walling was used for all the windows and external glazing of the project.

Associate Alasdair Mealey said:

“As the building was procured using a design and build contract, we produced a performance specification at tender stage, which was then assessed by the main contractor (Laing O’Rourke) who proposed the Kawneer curtain walling system. We assessed the proposal along with the project façade consultant and deemed that it met the required criteria for the building.

“The Kawneer curtain walling system had to interface with precast concrete primary structure and façade panels. Key items that had to be resolved were weather proofing, thermal bridging and air tightness and the Kawneer system met both the aesthetic and performance requirements. The building had a mixed-mode ventilation strategy so the curtain walling system had to incorporate opening lights.”

He added:

“The quality of what has been delivered, given budget and expectations, is first class.”

The Kawneer elements at Two Smithfield, which achieved a BREEAM “Excellent” rating, were installed over three months by approved specialist sub-contractor Bennett Architectural Aluminium.

Alasdair said:

“The glazed elements were a key part of the design, both aesthetically and from a performance standpoint, so the glazing had to be correct. Inherently we aim to specify all products from sustainable sources and our performance specification for the project listed all relevant standards and best practice which the chosen curtain walling system/product had to adhere to.

“There was a commitment to optimising the scheme as part of the design process and gaining a clear understanding of what technical solutions worked. The attention to detail and economy of pre-site manufacture is evidence of a very well thought through development.”

Bennett director Rob Bennett said:

“This new public realm building was designed to reflect the heritage of the potteries whilst using modern methods of off-site construction. Within a fast-track programme we installed curtain wall screens to give the building impressive verticality.”

Further phases are now in the pipeline including Three Smithfield (a 50,000ft2 commercial office building) and a new 125-bedroom hotel.