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RCI Feb 2018

Project1_Layout 1 07/05/CLADDING & SHEETING Exterior aesthetics on buildings Simon Wild, European category marketing manager at Formica Group, talks exterior cladding and how aesthetics and the need for energy efficient builds is influencing the choice of The quest to find the perfect balance between beauty and functionality is a challenge which faces architects on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s easily surmountable, in other instances, the creative muscles need to be stretched to the very limit to deliver a building which is both visually appealing and fit-for-purpose. This is especially true as far as exteriors are concerned. With the best will in the world, the architect’s original aesthetic will undergo modifications to make it both practical and compliant with various regulations and budget limitations. As such, the key question is whether there can ever be a balance which pleases all parties in a project? The answer can be found within today’s exterior cladding options, which are making it easier for architects to create buildings that balance the functional and cost requirements of the client’s brief with aesthetic choices to deliver statement design. For example, manufacturers are now using the benefits of High Pressure Laminate (HPL), once predominantly specified for interiors, and lending the material properties of the surface to exterior cladding solutions. Traditionally, HPL has been specified for interiors, due to its durable, hygienic and easy to maintain properties. Equally significant to the popularity of HPL is the broad selection of décor options the surface permits. When looking to offer the best of both worlds, one can appreciate why architects are taking advantage of the benefits afforded by materials, such as HPL and applying the material to building envelopes. Take for example the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), the architects behind Lewisham Pop-Up Village, who selected VIVIX by Formica Group, an exterior cladding option in HPL, as part of a practical solution to housing homeless families currently living in B&Bs. More than skin deep Lewisham Pop-Up Village is just one project that plays a supporting role in alleviating the housing crisis, in line with the government’s increased delivery targets for newbuild. When approaching the design, RSHP took steps to meet the social responsibility of the Pop-Up Village without compromising on looks. The vibrant coloured exterior cladding and striking red stairwells are the first aspect of the Pop-Up Village likely to be noticed by passers-by and inhabitants. In this regard, RSHP specified VIVIX panels because the colour selection provided substantial options to inject the sense of visual vitality and a welcoming feeling that was integral to the build’s brief. Beyond the façades, the material 036 FEBRUARY 2018 RCIMAG.COM properties of the exterior cladding specified also complemented the overall sustainability credentials of the build. The overall aim was to achieve a futureproof design with long-term value. In the instance of the exterior cladding, the panels were manufactured in Europe, according to the ISO 9001 standard, which under the Life Cycle Assessment, provides confirmation that they were manufactured with minimal impact on the environment. Lightweight materials such as laminates are beneficial in contributing to a lower carbon footprint, particularly in regards to transportation. Lightweight panels offer ease of application, with some being able to be placed over existing surfaces. In addition, panels that allow future building work to be undertaken with minimal disruption offer a further advantage. Measures were taken to significantly diminish the waste produced on the Lewisham site. For instance, to ensure a sustainable installation process, the façade panels were pre-cut off-site. In addition, since the panels were manufactured in Britain, the transportation distance and overall carbon footprint of the project were also reduced. The Pop-Up Village has been developed to have a lifespan of 60 years. In order to provide ‘portability’ to facilitate reconfiguration to other areas of vacant land, the specification of a sustainable and durable material is essential to the project. Low weight façades make the future deployment, reconfigure and reuse of the project to other areas easier to handle. In its design, development and execution, Lewisham Pop-Up Village provides an example of how architects can specify sustainable building products that complement energy efficiencies without sacrificing aesthetic vision. This is partly thanks to the state-of-the-art technology being used by manufacturers to create surfacing solutions with extensive colour and texture choices based on an understanding of the factors important to an architect’s choice of material. In the case of Lewisham Pop-Up Village, bespoke colours were printed on large screen print beds to achieve the distinctive bright pink and orange panel colours, which were key elements of the architect’s design. Similarly, modern technology facilitates the specification of panels with the look of natural surfaces, but with better durable, hygienic and cost efficient properties. Investing in the future Despite the uncertainty in the building and construction market, Formica Group is investing. Last year we started a £40 million investment plan in our UK facilities and production machinery, which will support the continued growth of our VIVIX exterior cladding panels. In addition, a number of new products will be added to the range this year, and we’re recruiting, creating five specialist roles on the VIVIX team. This will mean that we’re even better positioned to advise on projects, to support architects, designers and specifiers to realise their design vision and ensure that installers are supported throughout the project. www.formica.com material specified by architects Designed and built by architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the Lewisham Pop-Up Village project specified VIVIX by Formica Group for the captivating exterior façade


RCI Feb 2018
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