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_The steels are up at Green Park.
The Steels are up and the MERO-SCHMIDLIN team are installing the Schueco facade. The roof has been cleaned and refurbished and glass balustrades are about to be installed within the atrium. The new design by Barr Gazetas is starting to take shape but not without the occasional 'challenge'. Whilst the original facade was produced by Schueco some 12 years ago, the fixing specification was unfortunately updated two years later so the MSUK team had to use all the specialist knowhow in trying to match up the new components with the original parts. Updating a rather complicated structure was always going to be demanding but MERO-SCHMIDLIN excel at projects that might be beyond most other specialist envelope contractors.
The rapidly changing world of commerce requires premises to reflect new practices and provide a multi functional workspace to allow staff to interact in a variety of social environments. The need to create a hub that is pleasant to work in, easy to commute to and cost effective to run are challenges faced by developers and property owners all over the UK. 450 South Oak Way is a building being completely reconfigured to meet, and possibly exceed, all of the above criteria. A comprehensive Category A fit out by ISG will convert the five storey structure to a state of the art commercial environment not only providing 102,000 sq ft of Grade A office accommodation but achieve all of this within a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating framework.
The £8m refurbishment will involve major structural alterations requiring very specialist glazing and facade engineering to form a completely new entrance, lobby area and a two storey cantilever extension from the third storey. The reconfiguring of the building facade is an integral part of the BREEAM aspiration which will be achieved through a very focussed design concept using high specification materials and the installation of maximum efficiency mechanical and electrical services. The main contractors, ISG and architects, Barr Gazetas, have worked very closely with MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC as not only are they very respected specialist installers of bespoke facades but are also able to provide an unrivalled design element from the Camberley based design team. The team, headed by Design Manager, Barnaby Howe, can also call upon other members of the TSK Group in Germany, Switzerland and Asia who have an unequalled portfolio of high tech projects all over the world.
Architects and Principal Contractors are realising that by engaging a specialist installer, as against perhaps a manufacturer, provides a high level of expertise in design and installation whilst offering a completely impartial procurement process. MERO-SCHMIDLIN were not only engaged to construct the new cantilevered extension but as part of Phase One, were also responsible for dismantling the existing curtain walled facade which it replaces. The new Schuco curtain walling includes a variety of glazing options including, Low Iron Glass, Fritted Glass Spandrel Panels, with bonded insulation panels behind, along with a glazed balustrade to the terrace. MSUK installed double glazed doors within the existing curtain walling arrangement leading out to the high level terrace with a new glazed entrance below the north extension encompassing a disabled access door positioned centrally between anodised aluminium rainscreen cladding panels.
The main challenge faced by the MSUK Design Team has been to offer the maximum value engineering benefits in matching the new materials to the existing structure so that replacement costs were kept within budget. The interaction between new and old materials required a high level of sourcing to match finishes, textures and colours from the MERO-SCHMIDLIN supply chain. Creating a seamless transition between 12 year old components and the more up to date products called for numerous testing, trial rigs and of course almost constant surveying to gather and analyse the data to ensure the new materials fitted the existing structure minimising any completely bespoke elements.
The exterior was only part of the MSUK package as the remodelling encompassed an atrium linked by an internal walkway featuring a curved cold bent glass balustrade with a stainless steel handrail set within a steel channel bracketed back to the building structures steel frame. On either side of the atrium are two curtain walling strips equal to four storeys in height with access doors to each of the walkways servicing the four floors.
With the atrium and lobby immediately attracting the attention of all visitors this area represents the main 'kerb appeal' of the building regardless of whether it is singular or multi tenanted. The area is an ideal showcase for high tech design and functionality and MSUK rose to the challenge also supplying and installing laminated glazed panels with white interlayer whilst designing a completely bespoke hook-on fixing system for the aluminium cladding panels. The area also features glazed screens to the lift lobbies which are repeated on all of the 4 upper floors.
Anyone involved with the refurbishment of an existing building will be very aware that this throws up a whole series of challenges when compared to a new-build project. Many of the MSUK team involved at Green Park would have just finished working on the multi award winning Kings Cross Granary Store project reconfiguring a large number of 150 year old railway arches into commercial and retail units. Compared to Green Park, fitting out Victorian Railway Shed arches which were sometimes up to 75mm out of plumb, in both planes, was probably 'all in a day's work' for the design and installation teams.
450 South Oak Way will become a flagship property for its owners, Oxford Properties, and will further enhance the continued commercial prowess of this prestigious business park and the Thames Valley, M4 Corridor.
For more information on MERO-SCHMIDLIN's range of Bespoke Facade Solutions and Case Studies on other specialist projects please visit the MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC website.
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