Centre Building opens for LSE
Centre Building, the latest LSE landmark, has opened its doors for the new academic year. The heart of the Houghton Street campus was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners and delivered by Mace within a building site with limited access.
Wintech has provided assistance to RSH+P with the development of the façade at concept stage and technical design stages, in particular to find the optimal façade configuration for achieving the balance between thermal performance, daylight penetration, solar shading and ventilation for the various internal functions of the building. The façade expression chosen by the Architects unashamedly reflects the technical requirements of the interior spaces; these ranging from smaller cellular office spaces, to larger flexible open spaces as well as teaching spaces, auditoria and atria. In conjunction with the CBDSP, the project Services Engineers, the various façade configurations were resolved.
The façade plays a key role in the ventilation and thermal comfort of the building. A combination of user-controlled and attentively distributed BMS-controlled vents within the façade were key to provide the correct level of natural ventilation, whilst also allowing individual users to modify the permeability of the façade depending on the individual’s preference. Exposed internal structural slabs combined with high level automated windows provide the means for night purging the building, effectively pre-cooling the structure overnight to avoid overheating during the day.
Careful incorporation of these building features have resulted in an ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM rating and a 30% reduction of embodied carbon footprint.
The façade comprises of a variety of different systems, ranging from fully pre-fabricated façade units to site-assembled rainscreen cladding with very low U-values. The main façade comprises thermally-broken unitised curtain walling system with a mixture of natural anodised aluminium and powder coated aluminium finishes, complete with vertically-oriented brise-soleil on the main West and East facades, offering a solid appearance when viewed from the South side, whilst permeable and open when viewed from the North, to enhance daylight and ventilation.
On Houghton Street, an additional veil of limestone cladding is added in front of the main façade, sympathetically acknowledging the architectural rhythm and materiality of the Old Building in the LSE campus.
The selection of a fairly repeatable façade module on the office floors allows the proportion of cellular offices to be increased or reduced in favour of an open plan office space fairly easily, if required in the future. Each automated opening vent is individually controllable so that it can be set up to work efficiently for either a smaller office space, or as part of a group of vents providing ventilation to a larger space.
Wintech has provided a comprehensive technical façade specification, including requirements for testing and was subsequently involved in the assessment of the detailed design produced by Dobler Metallbau UK, the façade subcontractor selected for the execution of the façade.
Extensive testing, including wind loading, weathertightness, impact resistance and movement accommodation was required to help ensure a suitable level of performance of the proposed façades. Specialised testing was also necessary for the large rooflight elements and bespoke glazed smoke vents that form part of the building’s complex smoke control system.
The result is a visually dynamic façade that reflects the complex technical requirements needed to provide functional and efficient interior spaces without compromising on the individual’s thermal comfort or limiting options for future changes to the building’s internal layout.
Find out more about the interior features of Centre Building development in AJ’s article.
Featured Image courtesy of Mark Gorton, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Article Images courtesy of Clyde Abela and Chris Macey, Wintech