Non-combustible façade solutions specified for high-rise student accommodation

Non-combustible façade solutions specified for high-rise student accommodation

Skyline, Bournemouth University’s new high-rise student accommodation building built by developer Gilltown, features a striking façade, created using Rockpanel’s non-combustible Chameleon boards and thermally efficient non-combustible insulation from ROCKWOOL.

Designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ standard for energy performance, Skyline is one of the tallest developments in the area and draws on the powerful advantages of stone wool as a versatile, non-combustible insulation and cladding material, capable of providing excellent aesthetic, fire safety and thermal benefits.

The challenge
Skyline is purpose-built student accommodation, comprising 430 beds in a mixture of cluster flats and studios. Located on Oxford Road in the heart of busy Lansdowne, the hub of student life for thousands of Bournemouth University’s students, this 17-storey building is designed by Newcastle-based, Intersect Architects.

It features a common room and reception area at ground floor, a sky lounge on floors 16 and 17, and a sky garden on the roof with amazing panoramic views out to sea and inland.

Aesthetically, Intersect sought to create a bold, striking finish for Skyline, reflecting the youth, energy and vibrancy of its occupants. This exciting design vision would also be a fitting match for the size and scale of this sleek and very prominent building that’s also indicative of the potential and aspiration of its inhabitants.

From a technical perspective, and with Skyline exceeding 18m in height, fire safety was, of course, a key priority. The insulation and cladding also had an important role to play in helping Skyline meet the challenging energy performance credentials needed to achieve the BREEAM ‘Very Good’ standard.

Finally, because of the urban location on a main traffic route into the town centre, Skyline also challenged Intersect to minimise noise intrusion from outside into the building.

The solution
After attending a joint ROCKWOOL and Rockpanel CPD on ‘Fire Safety of Buildings above 18m — Designing out risks’ in November 2017, Intersect specified non-combustible Chameleon A2 boards from Rockpanel for the exterior cladding and RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB from ROCKWOOL for the ventilated façade insulation.

The Rockpanel Chameleon boards feature a special crystal effect layer which change colour within a specified purple, green and blue colour range, depending on natural daylight conditions and the viewing angle as people move around the building. This eye-catching, ever-changing effect delivers on Intersect’s design objectives, bringing the entire building to life. The surface of the Chameleon boards constantly seems to change colour in striking contrast with the mushroom colour of the unclad concrete elevations. Rockpanel have for the very first time also supplied the Chameleon boards in a special Matt finish to help meet Intersect’s aesthetic façade specification.

The boards, in combination with RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB from ROCKWOOL, fully meet the requirements for European fire class A2-s1 d0, so perform well from a fire safety perspective.

Manufactured as a dual density insulation board, RAINSCREEN DUO SLAB offers a robust outer surface and a resilient inner face designed specifically for application to this type of high-rise development. It requires fewer fixings than other commonly used insulation types, which minimises the risk of thermal bridging and ensures contractors a quick and easy installation. At Skyline, a thickness of 150mm was installed to achieve the specified thermal performance of 0.18W/m2K. The product was tightly butt jointed so that adjacent boards effectively knit together, minimising heat loss that would arise from gaps between insulation boards.

Because the product is manufactured from stone wool, it is also excellent at trapping sound waves and minimising vibration, making the insulation an excellent choice for external acoustic insulation. Furthermore, it has recently been awarded a Quiet Mark approval, an independent award body that is associated with the UK Noise Abatement Society, a charitable Foundation, whose aims are to help prioritise noise reduction within every day designs and products to benefit health and wellbeing.

The result
“Skyline is a confident, inspirational and vibrant home for Bournemouth University students,” said Andrew Scott of Intersect Architects. “The Chameleon cladding from Rockpanel is an important and influential component in this effect. We’re delighted with its colour-changing performance and longevity that will remain unaffected by changes in temperature or humidity. Equally, because both the cladding and insulation are made from stone wool, the building and its occupants benefit from a thermally well-insulated, non-combustible solution that helps to keep them warm, comfortable and safe.”

As a result, Skyline has achieved its targeted BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating. The use of non-combustible insulation and cladding from ROCKWOOL and Rockpanel, classified in accordance with EN 13501-1, also helps the building meet its regulatory fire safety requirements.

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