Grosvenor Waterside

The aluminium rain screen cladding system of 5,361 unique anodised panels with a shot peened design by artist Clare Woods, transforms the entire facade into the canvas for a monumental public art work, taking the form of a semi-abstract pattern of tree-like shapes appearing to grow over the surface of the building. Make references the building’s language as inspired by the arts and crafts movement. The wooden bannister detailing on the balustrade also relates back to this, reflecting both nature and artisan skill.

NES combines 3D modelling and graphic software to create a manufacturing solution to a project which looked like a logistical nightmare. Each panel was cut, fabricated, masked, peened and finally anodised prior to one last quality check before installation. A similar approach was used for profile cut balconies, bespoke extruded window assemblies and balcony trims.
The shot peened, anodised finish, a first in rain screen cladding, gives the artwork a lifetime well beyond the 35 years with Make Architects envisaged.

The anodising process uses only the purest J57S aluminium. This is open pored allowing the crystallisation of the anodising process to form inside the aluminium. The J57S does not stain and is far more consistent than other grades of aluminium. The density and surface hardness is also higher than 1050 grade. Anodising is a batch process. This introduces the possibility of colour variations across the facade panels. To control this top and bottom colour limits with control samples were produced for all parties.
The shot peening is an extremely innovative process. Due to NES' history in the signs and graphics world integrating this was seamless. The glass bead blasting is a non-erosive process. Also it relieves the natural surface tension present in the material. This actually improved the performance of the blasted sections making the fabricated cladding panels harder and under lower tensile stress. The colour differential is created by altering the angle of light refraction. We found that the lighter anodising colours provided more of a colour contrast than the darker "umber" colours.

The extrusion for the windows was particularly deep, right on the edge of the maximum size of what is possible. Using an extruded solution proved extremely efficient compared to traditional window flashing. The accuracy and strength of these frames was impressive. Also due to the snap in corner cleats site assembly was considerably faster.
Backing onto Victoria Station hundreds of thousands of people catch a glimpse of this iconic structure every year.

Project details
Project completion: 2008
Scope: Supply only Cladding, Window reveals and Fret Cut balustrades.
Sq. m: 6,000
Contractor: John Reddington Ltd
Architect: Make Architects


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