Project Spotlight: Exeter College Digital and Data Centre
Specified by: AWW Architects
As part of the Government’s strategy for skill development in digital and engineering disciplines, 12 Institutes of Technology (IoTs) have been established as collaborative partnerships between FE colleges, universities and employers, focusing on education in STEM subjects to offer businesses the skills they need to grow,
One of the new IoTs is the South West Institute of Technology, which is located in an existing building on the Exeter College campus, which has been refurbished and extended. The east elevation of the new building is both the front of the development and the new entrance for the college. This elevation tapers towards the entrance from the North and South elevations, where the Shackerley SureClad® Ceramic Granite system has been installed, drawing the eye to the feature entrance in the centre.
The building not only needs to attract talented and ambitious students; it also has to articulate the prestige of the IoT and provide a learning and research environment with which corporate partners want to be associated. As a result, the façade chosen for the project had to meet the requirement for a forward-focused, dynamic education environment.
However, the contemporary building is located within a conservation area and opposite a grade I listed church, with other listed heritage buildings in close proximity, so the façade design includes a contemporary interpretation of the window details on the nearby Grade I listed St David’s church. The cladding system needed to be versatile enough to enable manufacture of these details and the chamfered window returns designed by the architect to reference the church’s splayed window reveals.
The design requirements also included the need to construct the extension and refurbish the existing building on a tight site within an operational campus, so buildability considerations and long-term maintenance advantages were also vital. The new build project was designed with a lightweight frame and the cladding system needed to be compatible with the frame’s loading requirements.
Shackerley’s SureClad® Ceramic Granite façade system was installed in a creamy beige, natural ‘Lopar’ colourway, to offer a clean, contemporary façade that complements the pale stone tones of the surrounding architectural environment. The panels were installed using the Shackerley SureClad® Hang On façade support system.
Alongside the large format 1198 x 598mm panels manufactured for the 708m2 SureClad® façade area at one of Shackerley’s ISO 9001 accredited factories, Shackerley also manufactured bespoke cladding details for the sloping recessed window soffits, cills and angled window returns to create splayed window reveals. The Shackerley team also manufactured bespoke bracketry for the project.