Shortlist Gallery

Best use of a timber clad system

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#1 Altrincham Grammar School for Girls - Conlon Construction with Russwood
Altrincham Grammar was one of only two schools in Trafford without a sports hall; the other being another girls’ school. This raised the question of equal opportunities for girls in Trafford who cannot enjoy the same access to suitable sporting facilities as the boys. This scheme addresses this imbalance and provides the hard-working girls with the facility they deserve. We could have proposed a standard sports hall but due to the Conservation area location and the fact that the School have never had a sports hall (only a small gym), we wanted to deliver something special, a building with presence; one that reflected their aspirations; a building that inspires excellence.

The Trafford Sports and Physical Activity Strategy indicates that inactivity costs the Government £7.4 billion a year nationally. At Greater Manchester level this equates to £26.7m and £4.8m in Trafford. Trafford’s strategy is to promote access to activity for all (in line with national and local targets.) The new sports hall supports this wellbeing target for Altrincham.

The sports hall accommodates 4no. badminton courts, netball, volleyball and basketball; offering a broader sporting curriculum. Recreation can now be accommodated throughout the year, in inclement weather and for longer periods in the winter months. It also negates the need for students to travel off site to play these sports as they currently do, (reducing their carbon footprint, saving travel costs and ‘unproductive’ time).

The use of timber and graphics adds an elegant, contemporary edge to traditional building materials within the long-established school’s estate. The building sits proud in the landscape; a sign of the School’s forward thinking and understanding that the external built environment resulting from how we clad our buildings is just as an important as the internal finishes. Delivered on time and budget, we have a very happy client!

#2 Braywick Leisure Centre – Wates and Kovara with Vincent Timber
Located on the edge of Braywick nature reserve, this iconic new project needed to resonate with it's beautiful parkland setting. As a natural product, the Timber cladding on the ground floor level allowed an expansive modern building to blend harmoniously into its surroundings, adding warmth and continuity, echoing the wood effect Brize Soleil on the upper floors.

A Leisure centre is a wellbeing destination for the local community and this needs to be reflected in every aspect of the design process, the choice of materials is fundamental in creating a holistic build, that rests comfortably in its setting and engenders wellbeing.

The cladding utilises a "hit and miss" system in areas where ventilation is required, and cleverly screens industrial plant elements.

Siberian Larch a highly abundant wood species, with larch trees representing 37% of the forests in Russia according to research. Siberian Larch is currently being replanted quicker than it is being harvested, making it a very sustainable choice. Siberian Larch is actually beneficial to the environment. It naturally stores carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and releases it back without surplus; this is why wood is known as a carbon-sequestering building material.

A carefully considered timber-clad system is effective for both heat and sound insulation, trapping in heat and ensuring sound does not escape. Better at retaining heat than concrete, steel, and aluminium, timber cladding is both functionally and aesthetically ideal for Leisure centres where both acoustic insulation and effective energy usage are key design components.

The design of Leisure centres offers a real opportunity to focus on a ‘just transition’ towards inclusive net zero, where reduced energy demand, and a focus on sustainable material selection, develop in parallel with measures to create an equitable society, and inclusive public buildings.

#3  First Steps Nursery - Industrial Construction (Sussex) with Russwood
Industrial Construction (Sussex) Ltd worked on behalf of Cheesmur Building Contractor and the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to provide the external envelope comprising of a blend of timber cladding panels and colourful rendered finishes to new purpose-built Nursery facility at the existing Conquest Hospital site in Hastings.
Constructed in a live hospital environment, the project was to be completed within an eight-month programme period to ensure the facility was operational by the end of October 2021.

The project provided a highly efficient Nursery facility with an internal courtyard, dedicated baby and toddler areas, office space, a kitchen area for food preparation and both staff and child W/C areas.
Siberian Larch, with its excellent durability properties, attractive figuring and versatility is the cladding of choice for architects & contractors seeking a superior cladding product.

The external envelope comprised of a blend of timber cladding panels and colourful rendered finishes. Timber cladding provides a highly attractive and durable external finish which is renewable, reusable, biodegradable and contains minimal embodied energy.
Internally the thermally efficient green building incorporated underfloor heating and breathing building units to ensure a comfortable environment for both staff and children.
The project was completed on 25th October 2021 much to the delight of the client.

Thank you to Cheesmur Building Contractors for sharing the completed photos with us, it was a pleasure to work alongside you on this fantastic project.

#4 Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre – A2O with Bennetts Timber
Grange Parks Leisure Centre’s free form shape is beautifully designed for its park setting. A key design theme was a “building within the landscape”, with the larch rainscreen naturally weathering over time to a silver grey.

The larch cladding was designed to follow the free form curves of the building. The architect’s intention was for the timber to be curved, not faceted, and A2O was up for the challenge.

The face of the timber is curved horizontally, with grooves cut out of the back of the timber, while retaining enough structural integrity to remain stable without the need for laminating.

The quality challenge was to build the curved timber to fit, providing additional support to compensate for the reduced timber strength. A2O trialled notches to the back of the timber at varying intervals and spacings and built a sample wall section with SFS designer EOS Framing.

The SFS was designed in facets along the curves. A2O installer Cesar Flores earned a Willmott Dixon Quality Delivery Award for his work on the SFS install.

The FSC larch was fire-treated with Burnblock to Euro Class B and is S1 smoke-rated. The installation conforms with LPS 1531 for Passive Fire Protection.

The bold, bright curves have become the most distinctive feature of the Centre. The seven convex curves and one sweeping concave curve, each with a different radius, were modelled in Revit.

“We fought hard for those everyone can see the value they add to this state of the art leisure centre in a sensitive location” - Martin Lindus, Director, Sanders Boston Architects

A2O and Bennetts Timber are pleased to have worked with East Herts Council, Saunders Boston Architects and Willmott Dixon to construct this landmark building in Bishop’s Stortford.

#5 Swan School & Meadowbrook College – Middlesex Facades with Vincent Timber
This is a school names Swan School, which resides within large open grounds. The intent is to harmonise with the natural surroundings. This is where the siberian larch comes into play. There is a mixture of tongue and groove, timber fins, hit and miss, and a swan logo. All of these features are formed from siberian larch. The particular details behind the cladding, is intricate and thoughtful. The larch compliments the other cladding types, bronze steel cladding and white render. All these interfaces merge together with a seamless detail.
The siberian larch was installed to cross battens, and predrilled due to the nature of the timber, being easily split. The nails ofcourse are stainless steel, being used in an external environment, exposed to the elements. The timber fins are clamped together with powder coated angles, spanning the full height of the building. This finish matches the curtainwall and flashings across the project.

The swan logo, is formed from siberian larch fins, cut into varying lengths to mimic the shape of the swan, which is the school's logo.

The hit and miss timber cladding provides privacy and a discreet view across the ground from roof level. This idea was to hide and plant on the roof, as well as providing height and semi-visible views.

The treatment on the timber cladding, is SiOOX, which weathers the timber faster than it would naturally. This treatment protects the timber from time and also provides an even weathered effect in colour across the building.

The finish across the cladding is fantastic and the workmanship and detail in design makes this project a grand design.

#6 Trailfinders Sports Club - Industrial Construction (Sussex) with Vincent Timber
This impressive £3.8 million facility at Trailfinders Sports Club in West Ealing, London - Home to Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club includes 3,184-square metres of sporting space with three indoor cricket lanes and a viewing balcony enabling training to proceed despite the weather.

The ICS team worked alongside the Main Contractor, Collinson Construction, with our Site Operatives installing Siberian Larch Timber Cladding supplied by Vincent Timber. Siberian Larch is a durable and strong timber ideally suited for use in external conditions. Siberian Larch varies in colour having tones of yellow brown, light brown through to reddish brown. It is a very resinous wood, with clearly marked annual rings.

The ICS team also installed Kingspan Insulated Panels UK & Ireland MR Panels in a mix of Pearl White, Moonstone, Adventura and Basalt Grey colours providing an envelope solution to the client.

Attention to detail was taken during installation to ensure project delivery success!

The building was officially opened by Sir Andrew Strauss, Sir Mike Gooley, club members, the local community, and the project team.