Alpine Group were contracted by Colorminium to help create a new teaching building in University’s West Downs Campus in Winchester. The building is a technically complex, state-of-the-art facility and learning environment, which presented a series of architectural challenges from the outset. When completed, the building became a visually stunning landmark piece of architecture.
The structure needed to sit next to and complement an 18th Century grade II listed building that was a business school. The design included many different facades, including masonry and glass and a brise soleil, an architectural feature that reduces heat gain and deflects sunlight. Structural steel penetrations were required to support the brise soleil, which were connected to an extension to the structure.
Reuben Price, Operations Director at Colorminium said: “We chose to partner with Alpine due to the long standing and high trust relationship that has been forged over quite some time now. This façade was so intricate with so many variables to be managed that we had to lean on a partner who would provide us with straightforward and unbiased advice looking at the project holistically without constraining the design to certain production practices, for example.”
Specialists in COR-TEN steel
The job required handling in excess of 100 tonnes of structural and architectural COR-TEN steel, also known as ‘weathered steel’. COR-TEN steel is preferred for the outside aesthetic of buildings, as when exposed to the elements it develops a certain rusted appearance. This steel is widely used for bridges and marine environments as it has high atmospheric corrosion resistance. The weathering effect which can occur over a few months of exposure, creates a sought-after natural look which has become appealing for architectural finishes.
We chose to partner with Alpine due to the long standing and high trust relationship that has been forged over quite some time now.
As the project required a large amount of COR-TEN steel it was essential that it was fabricated by a specialist who truly understood the nature of the material. This is where Alpine Group demonstrates knowledge, as we have inhouse expertise on the material properties and fabrication processes required to work with COR-TEN.
Known for bespoke structures
Alpine Group worked very closely with Colorminium on the main structure, ensuring all the fixing details and brackets were accurate, with the correct amount of tolerance so the panels could be fitted. Alpine Group has the ability to design and manufacture large scale structures within architectural tolerances, a reason we are chosen for these kinds of projects.
It was also important that we had the ability to store the pieces off-site for a long duration to enable us to turn and weather the steel for finish consistency. Having a yard at the disposal of the project meant that trial fits could be done off-site. It provided a space for preparation, and for Alpine to work closely with the client from concept to completion, assessing and testing, to ensure the final installation by Colorminimum went smoothly, without hitch.
This partnership enables both companies to office & facility share, enabling us to collaborate on best practices during these types of projects.
Reuben Price explained: “There were two key success factors to the project, the first of which was Colorminium being able to integrate the project design manager into the Alpine offices in order to work with the Alpine project team, so as to help build trust, reduce time between communications and ensure the right result, first time. The second was the capacity and willingness to store the materials actually at the Alpine production facility, in order to oversee the weathering process and ensure the regular monitoring and consistency of finish to what is essentially a process driven by the forces of nature!”
This is one of many projects that Alpine Group has delivered for Colorminimum, and through a high level of trust and mutual respect the two companies have formed a strong partnership. This partnership enables both companies to office & facility share, enabling us to collaborate on best practices during these types of projects.
The finished building is a standout piece of architecture for the campus and beyond that, for Winchester. As it’s in the educational sector, it inspires, emboldens and empowers those who use it and observe it on a daily basis in the course of their studies.
For bespoke structures that require specialist skills and knowledge in specific steelwork, Alpine Group are second to none when it comes to design, manufacture and installation of steel fabrication. We regularly engage, collaborate and work to deadline and budget on the most ambitious and awe provoking structures in the UK. Contact us for more information on how we can make your architectural or fabrication project come alive.