THE DIDSBURY, EAST HAM, LONDON
Photo: Alex de Rijke
Designed by Stirling Prize-winning architects dRMM for Newham’s housing company Populo Living, and built by main contractor Bugler, The Didsbury comprises 148 apartments in two six-storey new-build blocks which sit south of the former East Ham Town Hall Annexe, which is being refurbished. Smart interior design is matched by a highly distinctive exterior featuring brick and gold clad facades. VELFAC 200 windows, patio doors and entrance doors are installed in every apartment to provide both a quality finish and impressive low energy and low maintenance performance.
Windows, doors and Juliette balconies
Every apartment features a combination of VELFAC windows and patio doors (leading to a balcony or terrace) and inward opening, tilt/turn VELFAC IN glazed doors. These are used to create Juliette balconies, with balcony fittings integrated within the VELFAC frame to simplify subsequent railing installation. As every apartment features a range of interior materials, inner VELFAC timber frames are painted white to create a neutral and low maintenance finish ideal for rented apartments. External aluminium frames are finished in a dark grey polyester-powder coating to complement to both the brick walls and gold cladding. VELFAC also supplied head pressings to match the window sills, thereby ensuring a neat and consistent finish at both top and bottom.
Our ‘go to’ composite glazing brand
Having successfully used VELFAC products on earlier projects dRMM was happy to specify the system for The Didsbury: ‘VELFAC has become our ‘go to’ brand when specifying composite glazing,’ says Findlay McFarlane, Architect at dRMM. ‘The system offers a good cost to quality ratio, and the frame design results in low embodied carbon, primarily due to the percentage of recycled aluminium used. This was important for Populo Living’s sustainability targets, and for dRMM as we champion climate-conscious architecture and the use of natural wood, which again is a feature of the VELFAC frame.’ Main contractor Bugler Developments was also happy with the specification: ‘We knew from the outset that we would be using the VELFAC system, and as we had used it before we knew it would meet our client’s requirements,’ comments Thomas Bugler, Head of Marketing.
First discussed in 2015, The Didsbury has been a long and complex build. VELFAC, however, is one of the few suppliers to remain with the project from start to finish, thanks to the quality of the system and the expertise provided at every stage build. ‘We liaised with VELFAC right from the start of the project, through the detailed design stage, procurement and eventually to installation on site, with amendments and updates included along the way when necessary,’ says Thomas. ‘The project’s sustainability and affordability targets became more challenging due to this long planning phase,’ adds Findlay, ‘but the VELFAC system continued to meet the specification as it evolved.’
Technical support above and beyond
While The Didsbury’s minimalist exterior may look sleek and simple, specification was in fact very complex, comments Findlay, and required expert input from the VELFAC team: ‘The stepped façade and variety of façade-specific performance targets meant that not all floors had an identical specification,’ he explains. ‘In addition, while VELFAC double glazing met all low energy targets, we needed to fit acoustic trickle vents into road-facing windows and ensure lower floors and balconies had windows with Secured by Design accreditation.’ Issues regarding weathering within the gold cladding also needed attention, comments Thomas: ‘This required some on site consultation with the VELFAC team, and updated detailing to ensure the end result was compliant and of the right quality - we are very pleased with the finish, and the windows and doors work well within the overall development.’
In fact, VELFAC support made a significant contribution to the success of the whole project says Findlay: ‘We worked closely with VELFAC on detailed drawings for the windows and doors, and were impressed with the level of support provided – more than that typically provided by a supplier, and another reason why we like to use the VELFAC system when we can. The thoroughness of the detailing meant there were fewer surprises when it came to installation, helping us keep on schedule during the final build and installation phase.’
Sector: Built-to-rent accommodation (mix of affordable and commercial rental)
Client: Populo Living
Main contractor: Bugler Developments