Nottingham University Samworth Academy

Base Delivers a Revolutionary Structure

Project Highlights

• A single ETFE skin using TEXO® a revolutionary framing concept, new to the UK and never before applied in a roofing context
• Almost 40% cheaper than glass and less than 1/10 the weight of glass –including frames
• Virtually indistinguishable from conventional glazing (97% translucency)
• 30 year lifespan
• Faster and safer installation process compared to glass

Nottingham University Samworth Academy

The Background

As part of the Government’s initiative to roll out academies across the UK, Nottingham University and Leicestershire businessman David Samworth co-sponsored the building of a brand new secondary school in Nottingham – the Nottingham University Samworth Academy or NUSA.

The Brief

One element of the architect’s design for the academy featured a cable supported, single skin clear ETFE roof over an unheated internal street. The roof’s main function, as well as providing a shelter, was to allow a high level of natural light to enter the street as it was going to be bordered by classrooms. The main contractor, Carillion plc, approached Base for its technical expertise to develop a solution that could deliver all the key functional and aesthetic effects in the architect’s proposal.

The Solution

Base won the project on technical experience, by proposing a more robust single skin ETFE solution. By adapting the revolutionary TEXO® cladding system, designed by Tensoforma of Italy, Base proposed to deliver an innovative tensile fabric solution that would offer the required high light translucency (97%), while offering a 30-year design, life thanks to a more modular approach. Initially conceived as a vertical cladding panel, this was the first time that TEXO had been adapted as an alternative to a glazed solution by using single skin ETFE foil.

The solution also offered a high degree of prefabrication and featured low weight components, which greatly reduced the risk of damage and injury on site. Base undertook the complete design, manufacture and installation process, including the structural aluminium gutters and primary steel arches.

The Results

Base delivered a highly innovative solution that matched the aesthetic requirements with a robust build quality, offering a 30-year lifespan – all installed swiftly and cost-effectively, meeting the brief and budget. The architect was particularly delighted with the high light levels our solution achieved. The NUSA opened to its first pupils on Friday 4th September 2009, and the new building was officially opened by Dame Kelly Holmes DBE in September 2010.

“When it came to developing the design, I appreciated Base’s honesty and straightforward approach. Their wealth of experience in tensile structures was a great advantage, not to mention the quality product which Base installed quickly and efficiently. I would have no hesitation in recommending them.”
Paul Gott, Architect, Atkins Global

Nottingham University ETFE Roof system
Nottingham University ETFE Roof system
Nottingham University ETFE Roof system

Project Summary

Client
Nottingham University
Location
Nottingham
Date
2010
Architect
Atkins
Contractor
Carillion
Fabric
ETFE
Product
ETFE Systems
Services
Design
Design
Project Management
Project Management
Manufacturing
Manufacturing
Installation
Installation
Maintenance
Maintenance