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Glazing systems from Kawneer have been used on a BREEAM Excellent academy

Architectural aluminium systems from Kawneer have helped a new academy achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating and a host of sustainability and design awards.

Kawneer's AA®100 curtain walling (structurally silicone glazed with 50mm sightlines), AA®601 top-hung casement windows and AA®605 low/medium-duty swing doors were used on the £22million BACA (Brighton Aldridge Community Academy).

Designed by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, the sixth form entry 11 to 18 years academy is sponsored by The Aldridge Foundation 

FCBS responded to the design brief for the proposed specialism of the Academy of Sport and its focus on developing students' entrepreneurial skills by creating a series of diverse spaces and a sense of spatial openness that would support different teaching and research methods as well as enabling the community to feel part of the establishment.

The spaces provide the backbone of a high-quality holistic learning atmosphere that nurtures students and provides an edifying and motivating environment in which they flourish. 

Winner of a 2012 RIBA South East Sustainability award and shortlisted in the 2012 BCSE Excellence in Design for Teaching and Learning (New Build Secondary) awards, the academy is being monitored under a Technology Strategy Board-funded POE.

The Kawneer systems were installed by approved specialist sub-contractor Leay for main contractor Kier Education. FCBS' proposal to build the new academy on land between the existing Falmer High School and Westlain Ancient Woodland meant it could be constructed in a single phase, minimising disruption for the school.

Existing topography is used so the academy sits elevated on a green plinth with playing fields as the foreground. The building has a clear definition of front and back - the public frontage facing the South Downs houses the public and community facilities, while the teaching spaces facing the woodland are housed in a flexible and adaptable ribbon that wraps around the southern edge of the building.

The palette of materials is drawn from the contrasting colour and textures between the flint and chalk from the Downs. The front elevation is clad in a blend of locally produced anthracite and dark facing bricks which provide a textured surface that also form the plinth.

The first floor features a system of full-height flush glazing (Kawneer's AA®100 curtain walling), creating a seamless smooth surface in contrast to the textured one below. To reflect light into the external terraces and teaching spaces, a white chalky brick is used for the external wall where continuous ribbon windows (Kawneer's AA®601 casements) are another linear strip or strata.


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