Kawneer glazing systems provide a sweet-looking façade
Curtain walling, windows and doors by Kawneer feature for British Sugar’s parents.
Architectural glazing systems by leading UK manufacturer Kawneer were specified as a “key aspect” of the new regional head office of British Sugar’s parent company, the FTSE 25 Associated British Foods (ABF), for their pedigree and quality.
CPMG Architects selected products from all of Kawneer’s portfolio for the building on a 4.5-acre site at Cygnet Business Park, Hampton, Peterborough, which would enable the relocation of almost 400 people from ABF businesses locally (AB Sugar, British Sugar, AB Mauri, ABF Ingredients and ABF) with the addition of purpose-built conference and training facilities and a showcase central reception area.
Kawneer’s aluminium AA®100 SSG (Structurally Silicone Glazed) curtain walling features on the ground floor reception, meeting/conference spaces and south-facing restaurant/café while AA®100 mullion-drained curtain walling has been used on the first and second floor open-plan offices of the three-storey building.
In addition, the 5,755m2 (GIA) building features ultra-thermally efficient AA®720 doors, large (3m high by 9m wide) AA®3572 sliding doors and over-sized (2.4m by 0.7m) AA®720 parallel opening windows, all installed over six months by a team of up to 15 from approved specialist sub-contractor Norman & Underwood.
The office spaces revolve around a triple-height atrium where a feature accommodation staircase connects the three floors to promote interaction and collaboration with 400+ staff, while skylights at roof level provide additional natural light and ventilation deep into the plan.
The ground floor is slightly recessed from the perimeter line of the floors above, eliminating the need for an external solar shading system. A prominent cantilever canopy above the protruding reception area emphasises the main entrance.
The design brief called for a building in keeping with ABF’s values of cost effectiveness and value for money, a “modern building fit for 2030 and beyond, with timeless / classic design and natural light and views out to the surrounding area as a key deliverable in the design philosophy”, all relating to health and wellbeing for the end users.
Precedents were considered in which contemporary office buildings use glazed curtain walling in combination with external glazed shading systems to optimise natural light deep into the building, minimising artificial lighting and glare from the sun, and enhancing the wellbeing of occupants.
In terms of the development of ABF’s new regional HQ, the aim was to create an environmentally responsible building, with an exemplar approach towards low-energy (PassivHaus) design principles. This involved energy demand minimisation through effective building form and orientation, good envelope design and proficient use of services, such that the building itself is used as the primary environmental modifier.
The construction over 20 months by main contractor Bowmer & Kirkland was of in-situ concrete where the exposed concrete also acts as thermal mass in compliance with PassivHaus design principles, as ABF was designing for an “A” energy efficiency rating to potentially help save £350,000 in combined running costs.
The entirety of the building envelope is Kawneer’s curtain wall systems with 50mm sightlines and consistent size modules that also incorporate sections of openable floor-to-ceiling windows to allow for a degree of personal control of ventilation. The objective was to create a visually open transparent façade to all elevations, maximising natural light into the building.
CPMG associate Ajay Chauhan said: “The Kawneer systems fitted the purpose of the building in terms of the size of the units and the thermal requirements, all of which were key elements for the building’s aesthetic we wanted to achieve, and Kawneer have been around for a long time and are defined as a quality product.
“The glazing is a key element as it allows natural light and ventilation to penetrate deep into the building while allowing users to have views out - all key elements that support health and wellbeing in an office environment. The building is completely a glazed box so the specification of the glass, in unison with the vertical glazed external brise soleil, was a very important factor in achieving a very energy efficient building.”
He added: “Kawneer provided a natural anodised finish, large glazed areas with corner glazed units and large ground-floor sliding doors which are amazing for end users to open the café/restaurant up to the external spaces.
“The clients are very happy with the end result as the overall building exceeded their expectations by designing an energy-efficient office building with collaborative spaces at the heart of it, and forming different agile working areas with controlled natural light deep into the building.”