Kingspan Architectural Facades Systems Project - ROYAL HOLLOWAY LONDON UK Image

Emily Wilding Davison Building
Royal Holloway

Opening A New Chapter at Royal Holloway

Copper Recess Fixed cassettes and Ceramic Granite on Karrier System form the intricate façade of a new university library and students services building. With the building completed just prior to the 100th Anniversary of the Representation of People Act, which gave some women the right to vote in the UK, the university community chose to name it after former-alumni and Suffragettethe Emily Wilding Davison.

The Project

Officially opened by Queen Victoria in 1886 as an all-women college, Royal Holloway, University of London now has a student population of 9,511 and is consistently ranked amongst the top universities in the country. A rapid increase in student numbers over the past two decades meant the existing library provision was no longer sufficient to meet the university’s needs and the decision was made to construct a large new library and student centre opposite the iconic Founder’s Building.
The new building’s striking angular form and carefully detailed façade marks its prominent place in the campus hierarchy. Ceramic granite and perforated copper recessed cassettes from BENCHMARK by Kingspan form part of a natural colour palette, reflecting the building’s leafy setting whilst, beneath the surface, the highly insulated Kingspan Facades Karrier System supported a fabric-first construction.

Associated Architects
Egham, Surrey
Building Owner:
Royal Holloway, University of London
Karrier System | Ceramic Granite | Recess Fixed Cassette
Copper | Ceramic granite
The materials selected have been chosen through careful consideration of those existing on the site to ensure that the approach is appropriate. The desire is for a predominantly low rise building that recedes towards the woodland. The copper cladding from BENCHMARK by Kingspan exhibits a unique range of features that add a depth and diversity to the proposal and contributes a changing natural patina fitting of the woodland setting. It brings a personality to the proposal that will continue to develop and age with time.

Associated Architects

Setting the Scene (Design Stage)

Kingspan Architectural Facades Systems Project - ROYAL HOLLOWAY LONDON UK Image

The plot selected for the new library is dominated by the gothic revival Founder’s Building which sits opposite. Associated Architects were eager to create a conversation between the buildings. To achieve this, a detailed study of the Founder’s façade was undertaken, identifying the rhythm of its exterior. The library façade has been carefully developed to echo these patterns in a contemporary style.

A distinctive linear wing projects out from the library above its main entrance. This feature aligns with the central axis of the Founder’s, further expressing the relationship between the two buildings. To clearly identify this element, BENCHMARK Copper recessed cassettes were selected for its facade. The perforated cassettes bring individuality to the element and will oxidise over time, moving from a bright mill finish through to deeper bronze and brown shades.  The panels were fitted in a faceted arrangement on the east and west flanks of the wing bringing depth and movement to the façade.

BENCHMARK Ceramic Granite facades were also chosen for use on the ground and lower ground floors, providing a durable base which mirrors the Portland stone setting of the Founder’s building.

(Image taken during instalation to show detail)

The facade has become one of the most complex technical designs and assemblies in the UK due to the intricacies of the detail interfaces. However, through careful computer aided design, backed by Kingspan’s excellent technical support, it has also been one of the smoothest running construction projects in the country.”

Fassaden + Architektur + Technik

Efficient Editing (Design Stage)

Kingspan Architectural Facades Systems Project - ROYAL HOLLOWAY LONDON UK Image

Royal Holloway is committed to reducing its overall carbon emissions relative to 1990 levels by 48% by 2020. This is particularly challenging target for the institution given the considerable expansion of the student population within that period.

To minimise the energy demand of the Emily Wilding Davison Building, a number of passive design measures were implemented. The Karrier System supported this approach, forming a highly insulated substrate for the façade and allowing an external wall U-value of 0.15 W/m2K.

Its tongue and groove joint also facilitated a highly airtight construction. Overall air permeability for the building is 3.0 m3/(h.m2). A central plant ventilation system with heat recovery ensures a constant supply of fresh air. This system uses heat from outgoing air to warm incoming air, further reducing space heating demand.

(Image shows Copper Recess Fixed Cassettes on BENCHMARK Karrier system during installation)

Building Plot (Build Stage)

Kingspan Architectural Facades Systems Project - ROYAL HOLLOWAY LONDON UK Image

The project was carried out to BIM Level 2 with specialist façade engineers, Fassaden + Architektur + Technik (FAT), responsible for the development of the external envelope. Given the complex, multi-faceted nature of the façade design, the firm chose to develop a BIM model from in-house libraries specifically created for the project. Their precision, parametric design allowed all elements to be carefully labelled and scheduled for site delivery and installation, streamlining the construction process.
The Karrier System was fixed directly to the building’s steel frame, making the internal spaces weathertight and allowing internal trades to begin work. The copper recess cassettes and ceramic granite facades were then fixed in place through the structural face of the Karrier System on the elevated wing and lower level sections respectively.

Happy Ending (Performance)

The Emily Wilding Davison Building shows that through sensitive design and careful material selection, modern and traditional architectural forms and construction methods can be brought together in a manner that enhances both buildings.
The completed building offers 12.8 km of shelving and over 1000 study desks in a stunning, sustainable setting which holds and Energy Performance Certificate of A and a BREEAM Rating of Excellent.

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