University Of Manchester Michael Smith Biosciences Building

James & Taylor Ltd.

James & Taylor’s award-winning façade for the University of Manchester’s biosciences building in Manchester, UK, was created using four different anodized finishes that coated both mirror polished and highly-etched Senses aluminium (aluminum) tiles.

The stunning result on the Michael Smith building was due to a close collaboration between the façade specialist and architects Sheppard Robson. It features a ‘random’ pattern that ensured the different finishes were distributed across the elevation to give a cohesive façade.

For its part in this outstanding project, James & Taylor, headquartered in New Malden, Surrey, UK, won first prize in the Innovative Surface Finish category at the Power of Aluminium Awards 2008.

The 1,500 sq. meters of tiles – 7,500 in all – were delivered to the site in color-coded plastic covers. These protected the façade during installation and also ensured individual tiles were placed in the position dictated by the architect’s original masterplan.

Justin Price, regional director of James & Taylor said: “The result is a stunning façade that is ever-changing with the weather and the time of day. It has spirit and life - a façade that really uplifts and inspires the observer.

“To create outstanding and original facades you need an architect with passion and determination and we were delighted to work closely with Sheppard Robson to create a unique finish to this building.”

Sheppard Robson considered over 30 aluminum tiles from James & Taylor before choosing four different degrees of reflectivity and color. The Senses aluminium rainscreen system offers a range of color hues, each with a depth and lustre not normally associated with a mirror polished anodized finish.

Partner Alex Solk said: “The brief was to close the quadrangle of the research building, completing the design of the whole Biosciences development, which Sheppard Robson has been working on since 2001.

“The resulting façade is one that develops and relates to the elevational treatment of the existing three wings. Through the design process with James & Taylor we developed a standard panel and were also able to develop bespoke profiles for soffits and reveals, creating a new corner detail and a number of surfaces finishes to enliven the façade. We are extremely pleased with the final result, which provides a crisp line never seen before in metal rainscreen cladding, and clearly identifies this final section of the building in an exciting new way.”

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