Glendower House Cladding Combines Classic with Contemporary

Glendower House brings a pioneering ‘study hotel’ concept to Cardiff

Named after the Welsh nobleman who led a rebellion against Henry IV, Glendower House brings a pioneering ‘study hotel’ concept to Cardiff from developer, TVE Ltd.

Designed by John Wotton Architects, the student accommodation is conveniently located on St Andrew’s Lane in Cardiff, just a five minute walk away from both the city centre and the University of Cardiff Campus. The development also sits on the edge of a conservation area close to the Portland Stone clad civic centre buildings, and the planners were keen that the external envelope of the new development should reflect the colour palette, materiality and verticality of these local buildings.

As a result, Shackerley’s SureClad® engineered stone ventilated façade system was selected for the main elevations, creating synergy with the existing surroundings. The large Buttermilk coloured façade panels also provide a clear visual contrast with the ochre tones of the terracotta cladding also specified for the project.

Complementary Aesthetic

TVE Ltd acquired the site with planning permission already in place but the project was re-designed by John Wotton Architects, who remodelled the internal layout and value engineered the project to meet the developer’s requirements.

Explains John Wotton from John Wotton Architects: “The original scheme had been designed with 17 different materials on the façades, which added unnecessary cost and complexity to the project.

“The planners were keen to reflect the colour and finish of the nearby civic buildings and to complement the lines of local Victorian buildings in the re-designed façades.  Shackerley’s SureClad® engineered stone ventilated cladding system provided the ideal solution, incorporating large format panels with a natural finish and a slim and comparatively lightweight profile.”

Shackerley’s engineered stone façade panels were specified in a creamy-white colourway with a subtle speckled fleck and a smooth honed surface, very close in appearance to traditional Portland Stone. The large format panels used were just 20mm thick, resulting in structural loadings much lower than the design team could have achieved with quarried stone panels.

John Wotton continues: “To use natural stone would have been cost-prohibitive not only because of the cost of installing the material itself, but because of the structure that would have been required to support the additional weight.

“Shackerley’s engineered stone and their SureClad façade system gave us the best of both worlds, delivering the appearance of natural stone cladding but with panels of a much slimmer profile, because the material, which is an ‘engineered’ product, has none of the inherent fissures and imperfections associated with quarried stones.

“It provided us with a robust, lightweight and practical solution that was fast and easy to install and will keep its high quality appearance over time.”

Visual Impact

The quality of appearance and materiality was a key criteria for the architect and the developer in order to differentiate Glendower House’s ‘Study Hotel’ concept from standard student accommodation. Aimed primarily at post graduate and international students, the seven storey project includes 84 en-suite study studios with a double height lounge rising from the ground to second floor, a gym, a cinema and games room, a communal cooking and dining area and two group study rooms, one of which is a ‘pod’ construction suspended within the double height space.

Shackerley’s SureClad® engineered stone cladding has been used extensively on the building, covering an area of 384m2 in total. The main frontage facing onto St Andrew’s Lane features a recessed, curtain walled ground level aligned to the profile of the pavement. From first floor level, the façade overhangs the ground floor façade to maximise useable internal floor space and has been clad using SureClad® engineered stone from first floor to fifth, with the large panels secured in a portrait orientation to deliver the required verticality. The sixth floor is also recessed with a smaller footprint, creating even greater impact for the engineered stone clad section that dominates the front of the building.

Ease of Installation

Shackerley’s façade system was installed by cladding specialist, Britannia Site Solutions.  Despite never having used SureClad® engineered stone or the SureClad® Access installation system on any previous project, the company found the façades very easy to install.

“We knew of the system,” explains Mark Wallace from Britannia, “but had never used it before. Despite being large format, the panels were comparatively light and easy to handle and Shackerley pre-fabricated every panel with all the necessary fixings attached and delivered them to site as an installation-ready façade system.”

The SureClad® Access system has been designed to avoid the need for on-site fabrication and reduce installation times. Fixings and supporting straps are factory assembled at Shackerley’s ISO 9001 accredited production plant in Lancashire using secure and stress-free undercut anchorage. Thanks to the system’s Queen’s Award winning design, SureClad® panels can be removed and replaced in insolation, enabling non-sequential installation to meet the needs of the build programme and ease of access to the building envelope for future maintenance or building services modifications.

Enduring Appeal

The Glendower House project has now been completed, creating a showpiece development in Cardiff that both echoes the heritage of the local area and achieves a very contemporary high quality appearance aligned to its status as a pioneering new approach to student living.

The use of Shackerley’s SureClad® engineered stone ventilated façade system has played an important role in achieving this high calibre finish and will continue to deliver a quality aesthetic throughout the lifecycle of the building.

John Wotton adds: “Engineered stone has none of the structural weaknesses of natural stone so it is hardwearing and provides a consistent pattern and colour that looks fantastic now that the building is finished and will still look great for years to come.”

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Wednesday, September 29, 12PM (BST)