Monodraught takes centre stage

Bespoke Monodraught SunCatchers are taking centre stage at Make Architects’ stunning new Sir Colin Campbell Building for Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus extension.

The Building, the latest phase of Make Architects’ masterplan for the extension to Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus, has incorporated four bespoke Monodraught SunCatchers integrated into the ceiling of its entrance space. This project, recently completed on a brownfield site formerly occupied by the Raleigh Bicycle Company, is one of three buildings on the campus designed by Make and is distinguished by its curvaceous form. 

The building straddles Triumph Road linking the university campus to the west with the science-based Innovation Park. The building contains business incubation units providing accommodation for spin-off businesses associated with the university and exhibition space to showcase their work.

The University wanted a striking design to redefine the identity of the campus and Make hasn’t disappointed. The Sir Colin Campbell Building, which appears to grow out of the ground, is clad with zinc tiles that follow its curves to enhance the organic impression created by the unusual shape. The interior of the head of the building is equally striking, especially in the entrance space where an atrium welcomes visitors with a unique ceiling arrangement created using bespoke Monodraught SunCatchers.

Make’s James Goodfellow explains that early in the project the three-storey atrium had provided an environmental challenge: “Glass rooflights originally proposed to light the atrium area and extract air, presented significant problems with solar gain and glare, as well as cleaning and maintenance. But as we had worked previously with Monodraught on a project to install SunPipes in the Dartford Judo Club – a training centre for Britain’s 2012 Olympic Judo Teams – we began quite early in the development to explore the possibilities offered by Monodraught’s natural lighting and ventilation systems using the same successful design criteria that we used at the Dartford Judo Club with a very special scalloped ceiling feature.”

It was no surprise, given the impact of the exterior design, that Make was keen to create a bold first impression inside, while responding to the university’s brief that all of its buildings should achieve and maintain the highest levels of energy efficiency and environmental responsibility to minimise the energy consumption of the campus.

The obvious benefits to emerge from the use of SunCatchers in the atrium were the total elimination of glare, solar gain, and cleaning and maintenance – and they were energy-free in operation.

Monodraught’s design team worked together with Make to develop the bespoke SunCatcher systems that met the exacting specification. The SunCatchers consist of square Windcatcher natural ventilation units with centrally mounted SunPipes whose 1.5 metre diameter domes are the largest ever produced by Monodraught.

To provide natural daylight and natural ventilation for the three-storey atrium, the specification required four SunCatchers installed as pairs in two specially designed housings. As all ceilings in the Sir Colin Campbell Building are concrete to maximise thermal mass, special double-curved formwork was created to ensure a seamless transition from the concrete slab soffit to the base of the SunCatchers. The result means that the SunCatchers are seamlessly integrated as part of a striking ceiling feature that complements the building’s exterior.

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