The award-winning architectural practice Flanagan and Lawrence has transformed an office block built in 1975 into a cutting-edge, modern building with the help of a triple-height structurally glazed atrium.
The scheme forms part of Bath Road Central office park and has undergone a major renovation and extension to create a new landmark commercial office building.
Only the core and structural frame of the previous building remain, and the outward appearance has been transformed by a light-weight skin that forms a striking new exterior.
Bright, comfortable and efficient
The front of the building features seven full-height structural frames supporting a canopy to form an entrance that delivers a modern interpretation of a classical portico.
Behind this is the 15m-high glazed atrium, which fills the building with natural light while creating a strong visual link with its surroundings.
The walls of the atrium are constructed from structurally glazed units, supported by a low-profile framing system.
Michael Metcalfe, commercial sales manager at Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, said: “This project shows how structurally glazed units used with curtain walling can create striking façades by removing external framing.
“From the outside, the system gives the appearance of an uninterrupted wall of glass, allowing designers to achieve very clean lines and adding to the visual appeal of the building.
The double-glazed Pilkington Insulight™ Sun units comprise an outer pane of 6mm-thick toughened and heat-soaked Pilkington Suncool™ 66/33 and an inner pane of 10mm-thick Pilkington Optifloat™ Clear, also toughened and heat-soaked.
This gives the glazing the combination of insulation, solar control, transparency and structural strength that is needed to create a climate that can be kept cool in summer and warm in winter without excessive heating and air-conditioning costs.
Michael Metcalfe continued: “The UK may have a very stable climate compared with many parts of the world, but without the right glass in place, a triple-height fully glazed space can easily overheat in the sun or get cold during the winter months.
“The Pilkington Suncool™ glass we have used in this project keeps out 64 per cent of the sun’s energy while allowing a high visible light transmission of 66 per cent. This is possible thanks to an advanced multi-layered coating that filters out the invisible, but very high energy, UV rays in sunlight while still allowing most of the visible light to pass through.”
Jason Flanagan, director at Flanagan Lawrence, added: ‘‘We have transformed the existing 1970’s and 80’s buildings on the site by retaining the structural frame and extending the accommodation to address the entrance to Segro’s estate. The extended floor plates are supported by a necklace of blade-like structural fins which culminate in a triple-height portico and structurally glazed entrance foyer.”
Letting the sunshine in
A second, internal atrium lets natural light enter the rear portion of the building. This is covered by a glass roof created using double-glazed units incorporating 13.5mm-thick Pilkington Optilam™ Clear.
Michael added: “Natural light is hugely important to the way a workplace feels, and it can be challenging when dealing with large floorplates to make sure every part of the space will get its fair share.
“The internal atrium at 234 Bath Road does a good job of opening up the interior of the building, and this was made possible by the section of glazed roof. Naturally, building regulations are strict on the strength required for the glass used in these applications, which is why our Pilkington Optilam™ product has been extensively tested to ensure it exceeds the requirements.”