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RCI March 2018

Project1_Layout 1 07/05/2013 CLADDING & SHEETING The UK’s universities attract more international students every year than any other country in Europe. In addition, almost half of the UK’s young adults are likely to choose to go into higher education before they are 30. As a result, not only are the facilities evolving to attract students, but many new student dwellings are more luxurious than ever before. With a rise in the number of universities and student housing providers offering luxury apartments that feature ensuite rooms and facilities, such as gyms and communal areas, the exterior of these premises needs to appeal to those with ‘superior’ tastes. In terms of architectural design, the façade must reflect what is offered within. Therefore, one of the most important aspects to consider when designing any façade, once performance and safety criteria have been met, is the building’s aesthetics. Innovative materials and finishes The choice of façade material can have a huge impact on the overall visual effect of a building, simply because it is the first thing that people see. Rainscreen cladding systems are therefore constantly evolving as they respond to design trends and developers’ aesthetic preferences. Architects and designers have a multitude of materials and finishes to choose from and they are better equipped than ever before to create striking cityscapes. It may come as little surprise that high-gloss cladding is a current trend in façades, particularly on new and modern buildings, including student accommodation blocks and universities. Popular for many years in kitchen and interior design, the sleek, gloss, mirrored, polished or reflective look has now been extended to exteriors. The trend for high-gloss has required a significant amount of development in materials, leading to panels that provide both modern aesthetics and performance to withstand the rigours of the outside elements. These high-gloss materials are available in a huge range of colours and different levels of gloss finishes that creates a striking aesthetic that reflects its surroundings in intriguing detail. This is a look that holds widespread appeal with developers of student accommodation in vibrant towns and cities that are seeking to attract both UK and international students. Manchester is a great example of what has long been known as a ‘student city’, but where the new breed of accommodation is setting it 038 MARCH 2018 RCIMAG.COM Shine bright like a diamond Adrian Storey, general manager at Horbury Facades, looks at the evolution in the design of student accommodation and the demand for innovative high-gloss façades ahead of others. Vita Student for example, the luxury student accommodation provider with property in some of the UK’s top university locations, has recently invested in two apartment blocks within the city. The company’s newest development in Circle Square, the £750 million multi-phase redevelopment of the former BBC site on Oxford Road boasts waterside living, 716 serviced apartments, movie rooms, private dining rooms and social hubs. Horbury Facades was appointed to detail, supply and install a high-gloss rainscreen façade for Vita Student. 5Plus Architects’ innovative design takes inspiration from the modern and luxurious style of the interior, and features high-gloss rainscreen panels in black metallic on the ground and first floor of the accommodation block. This project in particular has one of the most complicated facades that we have come across, mainly due to the building’s complex shape and the intricate geometric design at ground floor level. That and the inspired use of high-gloss panels is why we expect this to be one of the most innovative and eye-catching buildings within the new development. Summary We are entering an exciting new era in terms of the demand for luxury student and private residential accommodation. Therefore, we expect to continue to see the use of sleek and sophisticated cladding materials and finishes, such as high-gloss, that complement the modern and luxurious interiors. As architects and developers are looking to create increasingly attractive buildings, there is set to be further innovation in creating striking seamless façades for the future. www.horburygroup.com


RCI March 2018
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