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Project Details - Appleton Tower

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LDN Architects, Edinburgh

in conjunction with Buro Happold Engineering

 Project Overview

Shackerley enabled LDN architects and Buro Happold Engineering to update Appleton Tower, while respecting the design intent of the original architect, Alan Reiach, Eric Hall and Partners.

A controversial example of post-war Scottish architecture, the building was constructed as part of the University of Edinburgh’s George Square development in the 1960s.  Currently used as part of the University of Edinburgh’s Informatics Department, Appleton Tower was upgraded internally in 2006. The external refurbishment 10 years later using Shackerley’s SureClad® engineered stone ventilated facade system, involved a complete renewal of the building envelope, construction of an additional storey at roof level and a new feature entrance at ground floor level. 

Design Requirements

While tests revealed that the existing envelope was still structurally sound, it was nevertheless coming to the end of its design life. Consequently, the design required strip out of the pre-cast concrete facades and replacement of the single-glazed windows on the North and South elevations.

Several approaches to renewing the facades were considered. LDN Architects worked closely with structural and facade engineers, Buro Happold, to identify a system that would address the limited loading capabilities of the structure while delivering the required aesthetic.

 “We specified Shackerley’s SureClad® engineered stone system to reference the building’s original aesthetic and complement other George Square developments, while upgrading it to create a sleek, contemporary look,” said Ross Crichton from LDN Architects. “As part of the building envelope upgrade, which included replacing the original single glazing, the SureClad® system also formed part of a strategy to improve the thermal performance, bringing the structure into line with current building regulations.”

 Materials Used

LDN Architects specified a white honed engineered stone, which provided a contemporary white finish with a very subtle fleck, which is only visible from close proximity to the facade. 


The project required 2650m2 of SureClad® ventilated cladding, incorporating large format 1363 x 1200mm and 1080 x 2123mm engineered stone panels that were just 15mm and 12mm thick. Because of their exceptionally slimline profiles, the relative light weight of the panels satisfied loading requirements for the refurbishment project. The facade system was in fact tested specifically for the Appleton Tower project and proven to meet all structural, performance and sustainability criteria.