Main Image of The Box, Hook on Cassette, Quadcore Karrier

The Box, Plymouth

Kingspan Facades provides a striking contemporary facade for the new extension to the redeveloped Plymouth History Centre.

The Project

The former Museum, Art Gallery and Central Library in Plymouth are being transformed into a multi-million-pound gallery and museum complex, to house the city’s most important heritage collections on one site. Newly named The Box, the development includes refurbishment of the existing Grade II listed buildings and erection of a contemporary extension to provide expanded facilities. The development is destined to become a cultural centre for the city. It will include a museum, contemporary art exhibition spaces, a new study centre, café and an archive preserving the heritage of the city and surrounding regions.

Designed as a unifying link between the original library, museum and St Luke’s Church, the upper floors of the modern extension are clad in Kingspan Facades’ Hook-On Cassettes, supported by the QuadCore™ Karrier System, creating an iconic building.

Plymouth, UK
Completion Date:
Building Owner:
Plymouth City Council
Atkins Design & Engineering
Main Contractor:
Willmott Dixon
QuadCore™ Karrier |Hook-On Cassettes
Kershaw Roofing Ltd

Find out more about QuadCore Karrier & Hook On Cassette

Reflecting the Past (Design)

Close Up Image of The Box, Hook on Cassette, Quadcore Karrier
The archive box on the upper floors of the extension building was designed to present an eye-catching invitation to explore the historical complexities housed within the centre. Atkins Design & Engineering looked to create a design that demanded visitor’s attention with an intriguing and complex appearance. They also wanted the building’s exterior to be reflective of its purpose, indicating the myriad of stories and materials within.
Kingspan Facades Hook-On Cassettes were specified in a simple palette of white, grey, black and mirrored stainless-steel. The Cassettes are portrait-proportioned to represent the pages of the documents housed in the archive. Their smaller size emphasises their numerousness and the restricted monochromatic colour palette brings subtle variety and changeability to the facade. The blend of finishes is mixed and graded over the elevations, with the mirrored elements reflecting the changing light and cloud conditions, seeming to animate the box. This treatment gives the extension an active appearance, provoking thought and encouraging discussion.
The lower element of the extension is constructed from limestone blocks with a glazed facade giving clear definition to the entrance and public areas. The archive box above is cantilevered over the entrance and seems to float above the supporting structure. This new wing of the complex is unapologetically modern in appearance, providing a striking contrast to the existing Edwardian architecture yet sitting comfortably alongside it.
The result is a development of simple and elegant sophistication, which enhances the best of the original building architecture and offers a new interpretation of visitor experience.

Systematic Efficiency (Build)

Install Image of The Box, Hook on Cassette, Quadcore Karrier
The QuadCore™ Karrier System provided the ideal substructure for the final aesthetic treatment. In addition to providing a superior level of thermal performance which will contribute to the public building’s energy efficiency in the long term, the composite panels allowed the facade to be made weathertight at an earlier stage in the project timeline.  This enabled work to begin inside whilst the final finish was installed.
The secret fix solution of the Hook-On Cassettes allowed them to be easily installed onto the Karrier System with adjustable locating clips in the supporting vertical mullions. The clips are factory-fitted with rubber isolators which will prevent rattling and wear on the Cassettes, both during and after installation, and their stainless steel, self-drilling screws will prevent movement.

Exploring Excellence (Performance)

Side Image of The Box, Hook on Cassette, Quadcore Karrier
An iconic symbol for Plymouth’s current regeneration, and a museum for the future, The Box will open in spring 2020, as the flagship building for commemorations of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower setting sail. With its revitalised appearance and state-of-the-art, interactive exhibition spaces, the centre will bring the city’s heritage to life for a new generation, encouraging visitors to become explorers in their own right.
Side picture of The Box, Hook on Cassette, Quadcore

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