The Latest Word in Design Technology

The creative facade design for South Shields’ new central library and digital media centre, The Word, was enabled by a technologically advanced UV resistant building membrane

THE WORD IS a stunning new library and digital media centre designed to be the landmark focus of a £100 million regeneration of South Shields in Tyneside. Scheduled for completion in Autumn 2016, the advanced facility will include digitised archives, an immersive storytelling area, exhibition space, design studios and a rooftop terrace offering views over the river.

The new North East Centre for the Written Word was designed by award-winning practice FaulknerBrowns.

Director Malcolm Brown from FaulknerBrowns Architects explained

“South Shields is a state-of-the-art modern take on a community library. The individual pages of a book were the inspiration for the building’s exterior, to be realised using an open facade system. This presented the challenge of providing full weather resistance protection to the building envelope whilst also allowing the structure to breathe. The Powerlon UV Colour product achieved both of these critical technical performances, therefore allowing us to deliver our architectural ambition.”

To create the visual effect of an open book, a James and Taylor terracotta baguette open rainscreen cladding system was mounted to Envirosip structural insulated timber panels. These in turn were protected by Powerlon UV Colour (coal colourway) UV resistant membrane. According to senior project manager John Osborne of contractors Bowmer & Kirkland,

“The product is excellent and is the only façade membrane on the market that could meet the design intent and warrant an open rainscreen construction in excess of 100mm. The final result has certainly delivered on the promise and met expectations of the design team and clients. In addition, the support and advice during the design and construction stage from the ITP technical team was excellent.”

UV Colour is a poly-acrylic breathable membrane, developed to provide long-term protection to the building envelope and for use on exposed installations behind timber, glass, metal or composite materials. It is available in eight standard colours offering creative design possibilities and has a 10-year guarantee.