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Glazing systems by Kawneer feature on a new Ipswich landmark.

Architectural glazing systems by leading UK manufacturer Kawneer were specified for a hat-trick of reasons for the first development in Ipswich town centre for many years.

Barber Casanovas Ruffles, who have used Kawneer systems for many years, selected them for a new £8 million BREEAM “Very good” headquarters building, Providence House on Princes Street, because they are “tried and tested and a quality product that's value for money”.

On the ground floor of the 55,000ft2 building office screens comprise Kawneer's AA®100 zone-drained curtain walling with series 190 heavy-duty entrance doors and fixed lights with 200mm feature face caps in a mixture of metallic silver and anodised bronze.

The AA®100 curtain walling also features on the Chalon Street fa├žade as zone and mullion-drained and with a framing system incorporating spandrel panels as well as on a gable end with clear glass fixed back to a concrete staircase and separately, with louvre panels and a pair of series 190 doors.

The rear central core features more of the AA®100 zone-drained curtain walling with fixed lights while at the main entrance, the zone-drained AA®100 climbs the full height of the five-storey building, then returns 90 at roof terrace level to incorporate AA®3720 bifold doors and two AA®720 thermally superior single-access doors leading onto a roof garden.

Built over 16 months on the one-acre site of a former car park and Riley's pool hall by main contractor SEH French for specialist commercial property developer Churchmanor Estates, the building has enabled Birketts solicitors, one of the largest office employers in the town, to bring hundreds of its staff under one roof from disparate buildings.

Providence House, which is constructed of steel frame with traditional masonry and part brick facade, had to be elevated as it was built in a flood zone.

Barber Casanovas Ruffles said: “The steel frame erection was a landmark stage as the new building was the first development in the area for many years and it offered a sense of scale to the development at an early stage.”

They added: “The glazing design responds to the building orientation, aesthetic and function behind the internal space and the Kawneer systems play an important part in the design to each fa├žade. All products used on the building were considered for the overall sustainability of the building long-term.

“The full-height glazing to the front entrance provides the building with an identity and sense of approach to the main entrance. To the south the full glass facade to the staircase makes a showcase of the vertical circulation in a solid facade. To the north the large expanse of glazing and Kawneer cladding combine to conceal the escape staircase and then maximise natural daylight to the office areas. The detailing of projecting caps provides a third dimension to the window mullions and also mixing the colours accentuates the module.”

The Kawneer systems were installed over four months by a team of up to eight operatives from approved dealer Elliston Steady and Hawes (Aluminium). The mullions of the curtain walling at the main entrance had to be reinforced with steel so it could span the ground to second floor levels without intermediate support.

Following completion Birketts entered into a long-term lease with the created investment being sold to Ipswich Borough Assets, a wholly-owned entity of Ipswich Borough Council.


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