New fenestration for an iconic listed arts centre at the University of Sussex presented a particular challenge for architects RH Partnership but the successful outcome has been achieved thanks to close collaboration with steel window experts Crittall.
The University’s Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts (ACCA) was designed in the 1960s by Sir Basil Spence and subsequently listed Grade 2* by English Heritage.
The building’s curved brick exterior is punctuated at ground floor level by steel windows and doors that, along with the rest of the structure, had fallen into a state of disrepair.
Extensive consultation was undertaken by the Brighton-based architectural practice with English Heritage (now Historic England) and Brighton & Hove City Council’s conservation team for the most acceptable solution to replace the existing metal framed, single glazed windows and doors.
“RH Partnership have worked very closely with Crittall Windows to reproduce the patterns and profiles using W20 sections and to incorporate double glazed units,” says architect David Sweeney.
“With large areas of glazing in the front-of-house spaces, the capability to add slim line double glazed units has drastically improved the thermal performance of this building.”
Solar control glass has also been added to particular south and east facing windows so as to reduce overheating during summertime and natural ventilation has been improved by an increase in openable windows and the introduction of trickle vents.
The complete refurbishment of the building, including a main auditorium with a flexible 350 seating arrangement, exhibition spaces, four differently-sized studios and teaching rooms and the development of an area beneath the auditorium to provide 33% more usable space than was envisaged in the original design, has provided the University with a cultural flagship structure.
Says David Sweeney: “Working on a Sir Basil Spence, Grade 2* Listed Building such as this can be a real challenge. The solution provided by Crittall Windows has been very successful both in terms of its performance and the appearance of this 1969 iconic building.”
Also on the University campus a second Sir Basil Spence, Grade 2* listed structure, the Chichester 1 building, is undergoing refurbishment and, once again, Crittall products – the Corporate W20 and Corporate 2000 windows – have been specified.
Corporate W20 windows and doors offer designers great versatility including the ability to create or reproduce many styles. They deliver very slim sightlines, are English Heritage approved, and find widespread favour with planners and conservationists. Corporate 2000 are equally suited for residential, institutional and commercial applications, and can be used to produce unusual and innovative window wall designs. Major user sectors are offices, hotels, hospitals, universities and schools.