Trespa façade panels specified for £32 million health centre

Demolishing a Victorian hospital and designing a £32 million health centre in its place would appear to present the architect with the classic blank canvas. If only. Not only did the new St Catherine’s Health Centre in Birkenhead have to interact with the Grade II listed church on its doorstep, the building had to be erected alongside the old hospital while it was still functioning. To compound the challenge, more than 20 medical departments had to be incorporated into the tight space, on a sloping plot which fell four metres.

Architect Jason Whittall RIBA, of One Creative Environments Ltd in Worcester, chose more than 3,000m² of Trespa® Meteon® façade panels as an integral part of his solution. Creating an internal atrium “street” with five wings branching off it, he then colour-coded each wing inside and out for ease of navigation.

Whittall explained:

“We had to accommodate so many departments that the external elevation design played second fiddle to the internal layouts. Windows were located for functionality, so I needed a façade system which would allow me to bring some sense of order to an otherwise random façade.”

Having used the dark of the windows with white and grey Trespa® Meteon® panels to echo the idea of a DNA fingerprint, Whittall incorporated a different coloured panel into each wing’s design to give it a unique identity. “I wanted people to be able to look at the building from the outside and then understand where they were inside, to make it more intuitive,” he said.

Integral to this design process was One’s ability to present a computer generated image of how the architect’s vision would look. Whittall said:

“It’s very important to us that we are able to deliver the dream we offered at the beginning, and the flexibility of the Trespa® Meteon® panels helped us to achieve this. We are very pleased with the final result and that it looked the way we visualised. The ability to achieve the façade DNA idea with no visible fixings was also a huge benefit.”

The Trespa® Meteon® product range not only offers inspirational and eye-catching design solutions, but its low maintenance and robust panels are weather resistant, colour stable and underpinned by a 10-year guarantee, making them perfect for use alone, as a highlight when combined with other materials and as a ventilated facade system. Available in more than 100 colours and because of its consistency and high density, this high-pressure compact laminate holds screws and other mechanical fixings systems solidly, while offering excellent pull-out and impact resistance.

Trespa’s excellent customer support also applies to those on site. Specialist building envelope sub-contractors Weatherwise (Special Projects) Ltd of Chester had very limited space to work in, so Trespa delivered each set of panels in perfect sequence for erection.

Weatherwise Managing Director, Wayne Little said:

“It’s the first time we’ve worked on a major project with Trespa and, having experienced it, if we were bidding now on an open tender we would certainly push it, as it was such an easy product to use.”

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