Published On: Wed, Sep 19th, 2018

Customised AluK systems hit sweet spot at £60m Chocolate Quarter development

Commercial aluminium systems specialist AluK has been at the heart of a wholesale refurbishment of a former Cadbury’s factory in Bristol – finding the recipe for success in supplying customised window frames and curtain walling systems. The Chocolate Quarter is a £60m scheme developed by Bristol charity St Monica Trust. It has seen the iconic factory redeveloped into a retirement village, with assisted living, care home, doctors’ surgery and leisure facilities including a gym and cinema.

As the original factory is a landmark building, the structural parameters of the existing building architecture and the systems had to meet specific planning requirements. With that in mind, AluK collaborated Andrew Wilson Partnership, Newport architects, KWL Architects Ltd, and Bristol architect AWW, to provide commercial windows, doors and curtain walling fabricator EYG Commercial with a customised range of systems to meet design challenges on the site. 

EYG then worked alongside our teams to implement a project delivery plan which saw more than 900 AluK 58BW commercial casement windows delivered and installed throughout the build programme. The first challenge for the project was to redesign the originally specified window systems and curtain walling systems to achieve slimmer window sightlines throughout the development. 

The AluK team provided new calculations for more than 8,000m2 of window systems, meeting specific frame colour requirements as set by planners, and over 1,000m of AluK SL52 curtain walling to enhance the development and bring the architect’s aesthetic vision to fruition.  To meet the larger window openings from the original factory layout, found across the site, AluK developed and engineered a customised 58BW ST 1500mm aluminium frame system solution, larger than the standard 1200mm frame, and an ideal replacement for existing steel frame windows.

Jordan Kingman, architectural project manager at AluK, said: “With a growing ageing population in the UK, the need for homes and developments suitable for later life care and living is a significant issue. The original chocolate factory is a recognisable landmark on the outskirts of Bristol, and this new lease of life as a luxury retirement village is going to benefit the local community of Keynsham, so it was essential to all involved that the specified windows and door frame systems would enhance the design and purpose of the site. AluK worked with all partners to design, develop and deliver a range of customised solutions that complemented the existing architecture and structure, and will be a key feature of The Chocolate Quarter for many years to come.”  

Neil Ross, director of KWL Architects, added: “The successful redevelopment of the landmark buildings requires expertise and precision through all stages of the project, using building systems that complement the existing structure. Working with AluK meant we were working with a company that could adapt its products and systems to meet this challenging but rewarding brief, and the final result is an iconic site now fit for a new purpose.” 

Steve Swallow, commercial director at EYG Commercial, said: “This was a challenging contract, not only due to the sheer size and amount of products required, but also the customised range of systems needed and the design challenges faced. In such a situation it is paramount that all businesses involved work together and have a clear understanding of what is required from the onset to meet the precise needs of the customer. That was the case from day one of this project, and for our part as fabricators and installers, it makes the job much easier when working with the likes of AluK, who fully understand our role and are able to customise their systems and products in this way.”