Merano Shortlisted for SFE Project of the Year Awards

Merano adds another significant mention to its prestigious belt of consecutive wins and scores a shortlist at the SFE International Façade Engineering Excellence Awards. RIBA National Award winner, Merano Residences project is exemplar of the problem solving skills needed to deliver a highly efficient, low carbon façade with striking architecture.

Merano is one of the classic signature developments designed by RSHP. The façade uniquely took cognisance of the heat transfer associated with the expressed external structure, with the façade engineering having to factor into the design, the three dimensional heat losses associated with these complex issues connected with the building envelope performance only being achieved with a holistic approach to potential conflicting engineering challenges.

Concrete columns robustly define the corners of the building modules, whilst exposed steel bracing transfer dead load to the corners of the building to improve stability. The challenge of this approach was the considerable thermal bridging caused by the various structural penetrations through the thermal line and the developer’s aspiration of having slim wall buildups to maximise floor areas in this prime location. Wintech developed an innovative rainscreen support system that minimised bracket penetrations through the insulation, thus reducing the heat losses through repeating thermal bridges, resulting in a 386mm deep wall build-up to achieve a U-value of 0.15W/m2K. This allowed the building to meet the energy performance requirements notwithstanding the high proportion of double-glazed sliding doors desired to enjoy the views and spacious balconies on the West and East façades.

The building’s massing is a sympathetic response to the surrounding built fabric. The longer West elevation facing the river is broken up into three distinct bays to regulate the scale of the building. The height of each bay varies; the central being the tallest whilst the lower end bays provide the necessary transition to compliment the surrounding massing, in particular in relation to the Victorian pub to the South of the site. This play in heights results in a sensitive addition to the river-facing skyline.

Merano Residences by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Merano Residences by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

The Southern-most end bay also has the lower four floor removed and replaced by a public space sheltered by the building above and cradled by the structural columns and bracing. This contribution to the public realm avoids the creation of a narrow streetscape facing the pub, and also opens up the pub’s Victorian facade to the public whilst also providing a well-defined entry point to Spring Gardens to the East.

Merano Residences by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

The colours adopted are inspired by the pub’s Victorian façade. The blue keystones and red arches on the historic facade are reflected in the colours chosen for the balconies, whilst the pub’s clay brick walls are echoed in the bronze-anodised aluminium mesh.

Wintech were appointed by St James to provide Façade Engineering Consultancy and Design services, including concept stage design, specification writing, preparation of over 350 fully detailed drawings, Building Information Modelling, thermal calculations, acoustic assessments, structural calculations, tender audit and site visits.