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50-60 Station Road Cambridge

by Telling Architectural Ltd

GRCA Full Member Telling Architectural Ltd plays key part in award winning project.

 

The well-established annual Schüco Excellence Awards for Design and Innovation which recognises outstanding contemporary architecture throughout the UK and Ireland, awarded this landmark project, winner in the 2020 Commercial Building category – a category that was keenly fought, given that it attracted by far the most entries. Judge, Hazel Joseph of Allford Hall/Monaghan Morris, in her appraisal of the project, commented, “The technical prowess and the reinvention of a system by the trade contractor was really ingenious and really demonstrated a really strong collaboration between the design team and the contractors”.

 

50-60 Station Road offers state-of-the-art office accommodation in a building that could best be described as a hybrid of modern design that sympathetically identifies with the architectural heritage of its environment.

This speculative office building, located within a delicate conservation area, provides a centre piece structure within a master plan. Occupying an area of approximately 15,000 m2, with a full height that achieves 34m, it creates the highest point amongst a boulevard of adjacent buildings and provides excellent views from its rooftop pavilions and terraces towards the historic city centre of Cambridge.

Inspired by 1930’s Art Deco movement style, this development certainly does not come under the heading of a fast track project, given that submission of development drawings date back as far as 2011. Whilst the conception rarely changed it took several attempts and iterations to achieve the perfect balance that would not only identify with its location but also appease stakeholders and the local community.

 

Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete was chosen for its durability and sustainability attributes in addition to it providing the perfect material that would replicate the tonality and look of soft stone and at the same time allow precise sculptural form. A key design decision in achieving this effect was to decide upon a base colour that would represent 50% tonality with the remaining panel areas being either 25% darker or 25% lighter than the base tone.

 

 

 

The elevations were then mapped out, and in so doing, created a deliberate random tonal pattern that would both imitate and compliment the quality of stone synonymous with Cambridge’s architectural heritage.

 

Working in collaboration with façade specialist Dane Architectural enabled the design to be developed towards a light weight façade solution that combines GRC fin shaped columns and feature beams fixed directly over areas of the curtain wall grid system at locations where insulated panels were present. This strategy had several advantages, in the first instance a weather tight structure was provided early on in the programme, whilst the GRC façade option provided a much lighter solution that provided significant savings in both cost and time. The access strategy, based on mast climber platforms adapted to include lifting beams, enabled glazing and GRC panels to be hoisted swiftly into position.

Further considerations to the GRC design included the decision to only use three different types of fin profile. This enabled both quality and consistency associated with maximising efficiencies with high repetition in the manufacturing process. The north elevation required little shading so the fin profile was quite minimal in comparison to those designed for the south. Here a higher solar gain ratio area to glass of 1:1 was required. On the east and west elevations the same profile was used with the ability to invert the fin and further create an interesting rhythm to the façade.

Despite the numerous challenges identified and remedied during the lengthy time-scale from inception to completion, the building managed to achieve a BREEAM “Excellent” rating.

 

Yet another successful project that demonstrates the creative capabilities associated with GRC and the benefits that can be realised by early introduction into the design process.

 

Client – Brookgate Property

Main contractor – Galliford Try

Installer: Dane Architectural

Engineer: Mott MacDonald

Architects: Grimshaw

Scope of work: Grade 18P GRC 

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