University of Sheffield

Sector: Education
Architect: Bond Bryan Architects
Client: University of Sheffield
Contractor: Roofdec

Bailey: Building for the future of British industry

Sheffield is well on its way to becoming the country’s leading hub for advanced engineering thanks to the new family of multi-million pound research centres that have recently opened on the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Campus.

The objective of these translational research centres is to bridge the gap between industry needs and academic research. Leading names in global manufacturing, such as Boeing, have been involved in the creation of the facilities, supporting the university-led research within and so helping to cultivate the next generation of engineers.

Award-winning architect practice Bond Bryan was behind the design of the buildings on the campus. After being impressed by the bespoke eaves system manufactured and supplied by Bailey Total Building Envelope for Factory 2050 – the first fully reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing facility in the UK as well as the first building to be completed on the site – the firm brought Bailey on board for these subsequent AMRC projects.

A singular feature of this venture was to reveal the unique purpose of each facility; the architects planned on using the external walls as a canvas to reflect the ground-breaking work going on internally. Set up to develop and trial new materials, the Royce Translational Centre (RTC) required a novel material for its exterior so bronze rainscreen panels were specified. Despite the unusual nature of bronze, Bailey’s renowned background in bespoke manufacture meant they could handle and build with it appropriately. Ultimately producing a lustrous bronze-effect rainscreen cladding system with interlocking joints. The bronze will dull over time, eventually creating the sophisticated industrial look desired by the client.

In the Laboratory for Verification and Validation (LVV), a new acoustics and vibration testing facility, various tests take place which will hopefully lead to the production of lighter and safer designs for various industries, such as for aircraft and wind turbines. For this facility, long and thin stainless-steel shingles interlock for a panel effect resulting in an aerodynamic look. This was another panelling material which Bailey had never worked with before, so a new system had to be developed to achieve the final streamlined finish.

The third of the research facilities, the Integrated Civil and Infrastructure Research Centre (ICAIR) translates disruptive technologies from advanced manufacturing systems to the infrastructure sectors. The processes developed within the centre need to stand the test of time, so it was appropriate that the building also should. A zinc rainscreen system was Bailey’s solution, as this material prevents the panels aging, while secret fix joints add to the overall seamless and striking appearance.

Despite the difference in aesthetics and purpose of each building it was important to remember they exist as a family on the campus. Even the AMRC substation needed to fit the unique aesthetic. The client requested a basket weave look and Bailey took on the challenge creating an innovative technique where cladding had to be rolled, curved and interlocked to achieve the client’s vision.

Yasser Fadhl, Bond Bryan project architect, comments:

“This was an exciting set of projects to take on, the role of these research facilities is to drive growth and productivity across the region, but they will also be fundamental to the future of British industry as global demands get bigger. Our client was keen to be adventurous while still keeping the central purpose of these buildings at the front of everyone’s minds. The high-performance cladding solutions provided by Bailey created the desired look while also being completely effective in their design.”

To find out more information about the research facilities and the unique testing they offer to academia and industry please visit: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/engineering-research-sheffield-1.809474

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This was an exciting set of projects to take on, the role of these research facilities is to drive growth and productivity across the region, but they will also be fundamental to the future of British industry as global demands get bigger. Our client was keen to be adventurous while still keeping the central purpose of these buildings at the front of everyone’s minds. The high-performance cladding solutions provided by Bailey created the desired look while also being completely effective in their design Yasser Fadhl Bond Bryan project