ROCKPANEL® façades have formed the stunning canvas for a specially commissioned, three storey carving on the new ‘Heart of the Campus’ building at Sheffield Hallam University.
Natural shapes with a nod to the past
The themes explored in the artwork by Artist Christopher Tipping are conveyed through dynamic mark making and linear drawing, routed into the ROCKPANEL surface. The work evokes the history of cutlery & silverware manufacture in the city via techniques associated with it such as engraving & chasing, suggesting the role of an individual maker and the exotic materials they often worked with such as Brazilian Rosewood & Red Deer antler.
The layered images are a recurring theme, appearing in the glazing as well as the façade. The art was incorporated within the west elevation of the design from the initial planning stage and HLM Architects required a rainscreen façade which would support and enhance this, whilst still providing a highly durable finish. This lead to the specification of ROCKPANEL Rockclad as Michael Spencer and Gemma Wilson from HLM explained:
“This was the first time we had worked with ROCKPANEL façade cladding at our Sheffield office and we found ROCKPANEL boards delivered both the high quality finish and adaptability that we required. The product doesn’t expand or contract with atmospheric conditions and is unaffected by moisture, so it needed no special treatment even though the base board was made visible when routing the design. By specifying it with secret-fix system we were able to maintain the crisp and clean façade needed for the routed artwork.”
The perfect route for cladding with an ultra modern twist
Specified in simple Umbra Grey and Stone Grey, the 10mm thick boards were cnc routed by specialist firm The Cutting Room (www.cncrouting.co.uk), exposing the compressed stone wool base material to a depth of 2mm. The base material has now weathered from a pale yellow-green to a rich dark brown, beautifully highlighting this stylish artwork.
All ROCKPANEL façades are manufactured from highly sustainable basalt rock, creating boards which are both lightweight and extremely robust, so the ‘Heart of the Campus’ design will continue to delight visitors for years to come, thanks to the durability and dimensional stability of the chosen product. The project achieved its target BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’.
Stone Systems Director Mr Liam Hughes discussed the project: “We found the ROCKPANEL façades very easy to work with. Because they’re so light, handling and lifting wasn’t an issue and this, combined with the flexibility of the adhesive system, meant that we were able to complete the installation programme ahead of schedule, helping to keep costs down. The strength of the panels also meant that they adapted easily to changes in the required tolerances on site.”