Stapleton House, a £40m nine storey student accommodation development for the Unite Group in Islington, was completed in August 2016.
The building provides 862 bedrooms plus student communal area, including external courtyard and terrace, with further commercial units and local community space at ground floor. The building has enhanced an already extremely desirable location in London.
Senior project architect Matthew Gibbs of ArchitecturePLB explains how Taylor Maxwell became the supplier for the facing brick, rainscreen cladding and reconstituted cast stone used on the project. “We have used Taylor Maxwell before and approached them specifically for their brick service. We had a strong idea of what the brick type should be and had developed earlier CGIs which had been presented to the planners when we submitted the planning application, so we needed to find a solution that matched and Taylor Maxwell provided us with a variety of samples for us to choose from. They provided a fast and comprehensive service in sourcing suitable brick types, including a range of alternatives, which after some further negotiations, were agreed with the planners.”
Whilst getting the right brickwork was relatively straightforward, the metal rainscreen cladding was more complex. “We had originally been looking at another manufacturer, however the main contractor steered us towards a Taylor Maxwell product, which could offer a similar result.”
As with any project of this size and complexity, unexpected problems arose. However, everyone involved, the architects, main contractors, suppliers, installers and Taylor Maxwell, all worked together to overcome them.
One example was the cladding system; the metal cladding system had previously only been used as a horizontal cassette system and the design on Stapleton House called for it to be installed as a vertical system. Matthew says that this presented problems around the windows in particular; “The fact that no-one on the project had experience of using the system in this configuration did cause difficulties, but the subcontractor and installation team were very good and the eventual installation achieved the desired appearance.”
There were minimal issues when it came to the stone work used around the inside of the brickwork openings, which was supplied by Vobster Cast Stone Ltd. Matt continued, “From my experience, on student housing it’s rare to get such high quality materials. The finish gives something extra to the public realm.”
Matthew explained that Taylor Maxwell have always provided a good service to the practice and are very good communicators; “We could always speak to Paul Mears or Alan Gordon who looked after us very well, responding quickly and efficiently. I wouldn’t hesitate in using Taylor Maxwell again.”
Glenn Shreeves, who is Envelope and Facade Project Manager for Balfour Beatty, agrees. He too was very impressed when working with Taylor Maxwell because he had one point of contact throughout the project. “Nothing was too much trouble for our contact, Alan Gordon. He was very proactive and made sure we were kept informed about design, manufacture and delivery of components that aligned with our construction strategy for the project. I hadn’t engaged with Taylor Maxwell before, but now I know how seasoned they are in providing one point of contact, I’d be happy to do so again.” Glenn concluded.
Matthew Gibbs described the end result as a ‘jewel’, especially compared to the surrounding area.
The finish gives something extra to the public realm.
Senior Project Architect - ArchitecturePLB
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