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Project Details - North Durham Academy


Project Spotlight -
Sureclad helps to turn North Durham Academy into civic landmark


Atkins, Leeds

Design Requirements

The brief 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 all those living and working in the local community.

With a prominent aspect on the main road leading to the town centre, the academy was to be a new landmark for Stanley. The exterior needed to sit comfortably within its surroundings, using materials that were modern yet functional and representative of the landscape.

Materials used

This was the first time that the architectural team had specified ceramic granite cladding. They were particularly attracted to the material by its hardwearing, low maintenance characteristics and the array of façade finishes and styles in Shackerley’s collection. They opted to use Sureclad on key elevations of the building and in particular, to frame the main entrance to the academy facing the Public Plaza at the front of the building, creating an impressive focal point.

The architects were particularly attracted by a range of façade panels designed to resemble the appearance of polished metals. The copper-look panel they selected is one of a number of new and contemporary façade options delivering very different results from the quarried stone aesthetic effects most commonly associated with ceramic granite.

The installation of Shackerley's Sureclad® Access ventilated facade system helped to maximise the thermal performance of the building and at the same time create an appropriate interior environment, conducive to learning - external thermal and acoustic insulation was installed on the outer walls, hidden from view in the facade cavity delivering a practical, energy efficient and sound absorbing outer envelope.

In total Shackerley supplied over 1300 specially cut ceramic granite panels (560m2) for the project, fabricating the ventilated facade system off-site and delivering it ready for installation by roofing and cladding specialist, Newcastle-based Chemplas Ltd, working on behalf of Carillion, the main contractor.

Commenting on the finished results, Senior Architect 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 added: "The inclusion of the ceramic granite cladding with its metallic finish gives the building a 'substantial' modern and clean look whilst reflecting an appropriate industrial theme.

"We are so proud of our new school. The students and staff have been genuinely inspired by the new building. Coming into work is a pleasure and we all feel uplifted by our new surroundings. At the beginning of the project I didn’t really understand the extent to which architecture and building materials can 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."