As part of a ‘fabric first’ approach to sustainability, architects Feilden Fowles specified VELFAC composite low energy glazing for the Centre, using the system to accentuate the distinctive exterior facades and spacious interior, and also to maximise natural daylight levels throughout the classrooms and break out spaces. With energy efficiency also a priority, VELFAC was specified for its excellent thermal insulation, and also its compatibility with natural ventilation strategies.
Underlining the visual aesthetic
The VELFAC system is also used to underline the visual aesthetic underpinning the centre’s design. A series of large, plain VELFAC units are installed in the upper, red brick façade, with external aluminium framing finished in black to further minimise the impact of the already slim frame. VELFAC glazing is also installed behind the cream concrete colonnade, and used to create full height windows directly facing the courtyard linking the Centre to the rest of the school. Internally, VELFAC units are finished in a clear lacquer, chosen to emphasise the natural pine frame and to enhance the light interior design, helping to deliver the ‘visual transparency’ essential to the building’s success.
‘An architectural triumph’
Described by Headmaster Richard Fenwick as ‘an architectural and constructional triumph’, the Centre was formally opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex in September 2014. It has since won both a 2015 RIBA South West Award and 2015 RIBA South West Client of the Year Award, with the RIBA judges describing the Centre as an excellent example of client and architect working together to deliver ‘stunning architectural solutions that inspire and enhance the users’ experience’.
ARCHITECT: Feilden Fowles