CROMER ROAD PRIMARY SCHOOL, NEW BARNET
VELFAC slim-framed windows and doors are a key feature of every facade, with dark grey external frames emphasising the pattern of shadows created by textured brickwork and inset window apertures. The VELFAC system has also helped architect Corrie Rounding meet challenging regulatory and sustainability targets while maximising usable space, increasing natural light and improving ventilation.
‘We pushed the contractor to specify VELFAC as we knew the composite frame was the right fit for the Cromer Road project,’ says Corrie. ‘The sustainability of the VELFAC system, and its low energy performance, met Department of Education requirements, while the robust external aluminium frame is ideal for a busy school environment. The design of the windows and doors also met our aesthetic brief, especially the inner timber frames. These are clear lacquered to emphasise the wood, provide a link with the trees surrounding the new building, and to deliver a less ‘sterile’ finish than aluminium or uPVC.’
The VELFAC system could also meet key ventilation, daylighting and budget targets: ‘To manage costs, and maximise daylight in the right places, we concentrated our glazing allowance at the areas of most activity,’ explains Corrie, ‘but we also used windows to maximise the usability of the interior. For example, we used tall slim VELFAC units to illuminate the staircase but placed larger windows directly under the stairs to create an additional and useful breakout space.’
The Cromer Road building is naturally ventilated, unusual for a Department for Education funded primary school project, with VELFAC units carefully configured to support an efficient flow of fresh air: ‘We wanted to make sure the building could stay comfortable without the need for mechanical cooling, even through the hottest summer,’ says Corrie. ‘This meant the placement of smaller windows on south facing facades, to manage solar gain, and the specification of multiple opening units across the building, including high level teleflex-operated lights. These are especially important in the classroom window screens where ventilation is guided by CO2 monitors.’ To ensure the security of children and staff, all windows also feature restrictors, with finger guards fitted to doors as an additional safety measure.
Corrie was also pleased with the support provided by the VELFAC team, especially in the early stages: ‘VELFAC provided the estimates and performance data we needed to convince the contractor that VELFAC was the ideal solution for this project,’ she says, ‘and the school was certainly very happy with the end result’.
Architect: Innes Associates