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Project Details - Blue Tower Offices, MediaCity UK

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Fairhurst Design Group specifies Sureclad ceramic granite cladding at MediaCityUK

The first development phase at MediaCityUK at Salford Quays is rapidly approaching completion and several businesses and hundreds of ‘city dwellers’ have already moved into brand new offices and apartments constructed as part of Peel Media’s £650 million development by Bovis Lend Lease. Thousands of BBC employees will join them during 2011 as the Corporation relocates a large swathe of its operations to the UK’s first purpose-built media city, designed to fulfil the specific needs of the creative and digital industries.

Facade specialist Shackerley (Holdings) Group Limited has supplied its Queen’s Award winning ceramic granite ventilated cladding systems for two of the tallest new buildings developed on the initial 40-acre site. Towering almost symmetrically above the main 250,000 sqft state-of the-art studio complex are a 218–bedroom Holiday Inn hotel and 21-storey Blue Tower office building. Despite their very different purposes, the exterior envelopes of these two edifices are very similar in design and finish.

The architects at Fairhurst Design Group, responsible for designing both buildings for Peel Media, originally envisaged that a sandy coloured, naturally hewn stone material might be used to protect the towering elevations. However, their specifications changed when specialist cladding contractors, McMullen Architectural Systems brought the Sureclad ventilated facade system to their attention and showed the architects the wide range of ceramic granite, colours styles and finishes that Shackerley was able to provide.

“The project team were very keen to present these buildings with very clean sharp lines, and for the cladding to have a high quality finish,” said Fairhurst Architect Tony Rogozinski. “We were impressed by the quality and choice of ceramic granite panels presented to us, and the Sureclad system offered us an attractive and logical alternative route to achieving our objective. We made extensive use of the ceramic granite cladding on both buildings, predominantly, but not exclusively, on the concrete shear walls of the towers enclosing the lift and stair cores, and we’ve been very pleased with the results.”

Equally pleased with the specification is Brian Newell, Shackerley’s Chief Executive who commented: “MediaCityUK is without doubt one of the most significant, high profile developments the North West region has seen for a long time. We are absolutely delighted to have played a part in the first phase and to have had the opportunity to clad two of the most prominent buildings on the site with our Sureclad ceramic granite ventilated facades. This method of cladding not only enhances the appearance of a building and protects the outer envelope, but it also allows contractors to install highly effective thermal and acoustic insulation on the outside of the building, hidden behind the facades, to minimise heat loss, increase overall thermal efficiency and reduce noise levels.”

MediaCityUK is the first scheme in the world to become a BREEAM approved sustainable community, by incorporating world leading sustainability into the design.