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Shackerley's cladding helps to turn new academy into civic landmark

Shackerley's SureClad® ceramic granite cladding supplied in an unusual eyecatching 'metallised' finish has helped to make North Durham Academy stand out as an impressive new civic landmark in the former colliery town of Stanley.

The brief for architects at the Leeds offices of Atkins was to deliver a new £30 million campus with state-of-the-art facilities and a public presence that would inspire the next generation of students and raise the aspirations of the local community.

Senior Architect Mark Hargreaves commented: "We were drawn to ceramic granite by the vast array of attractive façade finishes and styles that Shackerley had to offer, and by its exceptionally hardwearing, low maintenance characteristics."

The 'metallised' façade panel selected by the architects resembles polished copper and is one of a number of new and contemporary options with very distinctive surface finishes in Shackerley's ceramic granite collection. It has been used extensively to clad key elevations of the building and, most prominently, to frame the main entrance facing the Public Plaza, thereby creating an attractive and welcoming focal point.

The SureClad® Access ventilated façade system also offered other benefits as Mark explained: "We were able to install effective external thermal and acoustic insulation, hidden from view in the cavity behind the façade, achieving a practical, energy efficient and sound absorbing outer envelope."

In total Shackerley supplied over 1300 specially cut ceramic granite panels for the project, fabricating the ventilated façade system off-site in its Lancashire production facility under ISO9001 certified conditions. It was installed by Chemplas Ltd, working on behalf of Carillion, the main contractor.

Commenting on the finished results, Mark Hargreaves said: "The strong ceramic granite exteriors have contributed to the academy's inspirational and uplifting character. The facades have given the new building a professional and confident appearance which, thanks to their reflective 'metallic' finish, is constantly changing in response to prevailing weather conditions"

North Durham Academy Principal David Thornton commented: "This new academy was always intended to be a new landmark for Stanley. The ceramic granite cladding with its metallic finish gives the building a 'substantial' modern and clean look and reflects an appropriate industrial theme.

"I didn't really understand the extent to which architecture and building materials could influence mood, behaviours and well-being, but this building has turned a sceptical Yorkshireman into an enthusiastic supporter for the power of architecture to truly transform lives."