Some of the most striking, seamless and innovative architectural details can also be the most expensive.
At new student accommodation at the University of Essex, Maple have delivered a typically cost-effective solution for the architect’s vision.
Willmore Iles designed two curved buildings at the gateway of the Colchester campus to echo the Essex coastal architecture of the 1930s. Many of the curves were rationalised to ensure buildability and to control costs. However, that wasn’t possible for the important brise soleil features that project horizontally from the top of the six-storey buildings and complete the modernist design.
Instead, Maple worked closely with the architects and main contractor Bouygues UK to create the most effective design, construction and installation methods.
The aluminium brise soleil blades were expertly curved off-site and incorporated into cassette systems. Meanwhile, fixing brackets were attached to the building’s core steel framework and extended through the exterior façade.
The two parts came together during installation, when the benefits of having no straight lines is evident ― the individual cassettes fit together seamlessly to achieve what appears to be a continuous curve.
The new accommodation blocks, which were completed in September 2018, provide 643 bedrooms.