Published On: Fri, Aug 22nd, 2014

Windows and curtain walling create energy efficient health centre

Aluminium curtain walling and casement window systems from Technal have contributed to a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and a high level of energy efficiency for a flagship primary care centre in Swansea.

Technal Beacon Centre-106Designed by B3 Architects and built by Dawnus Construction, the state-of-the-art Beacon Centre for Health is now one of the largest primary care facilities in Wales, catering for up to 3,000 patients a day. The 3,150 sqm scheme accommodates a host of primary care functions, including the Harbourside Health Centre, SA1 Medical Centre, Eastside Dental, ABM University Health Board, Swansea University and a pharmacy.

The design brief for the project was to create a modern, light and spacious community health centre to increase capacity for a range of NHS services, which would normally be provided in a hospital setting. The growing population in east Swansea has led to a rise in demand for primary care services putting pressure on existing facilities and resulting in thousands of patients having to travel to busy hospital sites for treatment.

The building is designed around a central four-storey atrium which has large spans of Technal’s GEODE-MX Visible Grid curtain walling to deliver high levels of natural light. This, together with a palette of natural finishes and subtle use of colour, provides a welcoming and bright environment for patients and staff.

The contemporary design of the building envelope features semi-glazed black-faced brickwork, zinc rainscreen cladding, and areas of green render. The solidity of the brickwork is offset by the lightness of glazing and the zinc cladding, which has a diamond pattern to reflect the form of the building.

Fabricated and installed by Vision 2000, Technal’s GEODE-MX Visible Grid curtain walling was used throughout the ground floor spanning up to three storeys and for two recessed areas set into the black brickwork for the upper terraced balconies.

The curtain walling had to be sufficiently robust to carry large spans of glass, up to 2.5m in some areas.  GEODE-MX top hung concealed vents and FXi65 casement windows were inserted into the façade system for natural ventilation.

FXi65 projecting side hung casement windows feature as ‘punched hole’ configurations on all elevations. These are split frame configurations, all internally glazed, with adjacent opening and fixed lights.  Technal’s CD doors provide access on to the two balconies and for the main entrance into the building.

The Technal systems were polyester powder coated in dual colours – dark grey to complement the other exterior finishes, and white internally.

Commenting on the glazing requirements for the project, Bruce Massie, Project Architect at B3 Architects, said, “Technal’s façade systems provide a clean modern aesthetic for the project, whilst achieving low U values and the project’s security criteria, in accordance with our specification requirements.”

“The curtain walling is designed to minimise sight lines and it spans vertically between floors filling the building with light on the front elevation. To maintain as much transparency as possible, we developed an innovative structural solution with Burroughs engineers, which included bracing the atrium glazing back to concrete bridge structure for the walkway to reduce the number of structural members behind the glazing. The façade system also had to incorporate opening lights for natural ventilation and was sufficiently robust to support vertically hung solar shading.”

“The curtain walling and the windows allowed finishes in dual colours, enabling improved visual comfort internally.  We are pleased to report all Technal’s systems are performing well.”

Technal’s FXi65 casement window system features curved profiles and delivers superior thermal efficiency using a 19mm flush polyamide thermal break and innovative gasket detailing to meet or exceed Building Regulations.  The 65mm module accommodates 17mm up to 48mm glazing units for wider choice to provide even greater thermal or acoustic performance.  Configuration options include fixed lights, top, side and bottom hung, tilt/turn and tilt/slide.

GEODE-MX curtain walling is fully compatible with the FXi window suite, and can be used to create a variety of architectural compositions from a single grid system – low to high rise façades, horizontal or vertical emphasis, and ribbon, structural, faceted, beaded and sloped glazing.  GEODE-MX Acoustic for additional noise protection and GEODE-MX62 for larger glass sizes are the latest additions to the extensive range of curtain walling options.

For further information about Technal’s façade products, call 01924 232323, email or visit