Architect: Sheppard Robson Architects
Main Contractor: Miller Construction
Installer: Norking Aluminium Limited
System: Optima FC Secret Fix Rainscreen Cladding
Material / Finish: Brushed Bronze Anodised Aluminium
Sotech provided Optima FC Secret Fix rainscreen cladding on this new £30 million BREEAM Excellent Staffordshire University Science & Technology Centre designed by Sheppard Robson, features a first for Sotech. Finished in anodised aluminium, the Sotech Optima FC Secret Fix rainscreen panels were designed to alter in appearance depending on the angle and time of day viewed, demanding a unique approach to both manufacture and processing.
The cladding requirement, the first in a series of new schemes forming part of the largest education-led regeneration project in the UK, was to produce an almost non-uniform finish on the 2745 FC Secret Fix anodised aluminium panels installed across the entire envelope. The panels were installed with the brush lines running alternately horizontally and vertically, refracting light differently and therefore creating an entirely contrasting appearance when viewed from different angles or in varying lighting conditions.
The unique, non-uniform effect created through the brushing process, is entirely different to the consistency of appearance normally associated with anodising and demanded even greater care during manufacture to prevent any imperfections in the surface of the panels.
Developed as a fully drained and ventilated secret fix system, the Optima FC rainscreen provided uninterrupted shadow gaps between panels, achieve a striking and unique façade which is both low-maintenance and fully recyclable.