Kawneer systems help take the wind out of Birmingham’s sails


Curtain walling, windows and doors feature on a 33-storey apartment tower.

High performance building façade products manufactured by leading UK manufacturer Kawneer were specified to handle the challenging wind loads on Birmingham’s tallest exclusively residential tower block.

Kawneer’s AA®100 zone-drained and capped curtain walling, complemented by AA®720 top-hung ventilator windows on the first to top floors, with AA®190 TB entrance doors on the ground floor, were specified by Glancy Nicholls Architects for the £30 million 33-storey Left Bank 2 tower.

The external façade is constructed of in-situ reinforced concrete frames that were developed over two years by main contractor Wates for developer Regal Property Group, Left Bank 2 is the second tower to feature Kawneer’s aluminium systems at The Bank, between Broad Street and Brindley Place in the city centre.

Also funded by real estate investment company Aprirose, Left Bank 2 comprises 217 luxury one to three-bedroomed apartments with private gym, residents lounge and coffee bar, private kitchen and dining room, on-site cycle storage, and secure and private outdoor green space.

Featuring 3,580ft2 of ground-floor retail space, it is one of only two residential skyscrapers in the city to measure over 100 metres tall. Left Bank 1 is 21 storeys and features Kawneer’s thermally superior AA®720 windows.

Glancy Nicholls’ focus was to respond to the Grade ll listed building that occupies a key part of both the site and its streetscape, and to provide a new public realm link to the adjacent commercial and leisure district. The “brass” building envelope on both towers takes reference from the historical context of the neighbouring Brasshouse building and the site’s brass and metal working heritage.

Glancy Nicholls’ Marketing Co-ordinator Sophie Casewell said: “We specified the Kawneer systems for their system performance, particularly in relation to wind loads.

“The curtain wall system delivered the required performance to deal with the challenging wind loads on the 33-storey tower, with the site also elevated geographically within Birmingham. The aesthetics of the system also delivered upon the desired design intent.”

She added: “The Kawneer glazed elements are a significant element with the façade design and assisted with the aesthetic detailing required. The glass to glass corners maximise daylighting and views across the city.

“The client has been very satisfied with the product, with over 70% of the apartments sold by building completion. The glass to glass corner windows were a big selling point and the aluminium material assisted in achieving the client’s sustainable target deliverables.”

The Kawneer systems, including AA®100 curtain walling featuring 50mm sightlines, were installed over 18 months by a team of eight operatives from Kawneer-approved specialist sub-contractor APiC UK who also installed the Kawneer windows on Left Bank 1.

APiC’s Sales and Estimating Technician Andrew Finn said: “The relationship that was established on the first tower ensured that Wates and Glancy Nicholls had the confidence to proceed on Left Bank 2 using Kawneer products with APiC as their preferred curtain walling sub-contractor.”

Left Bank 2 was a finalist in the 2020 Facades Awards UK for Best use of a building facade system using aluminium.

Glancy Nicholls have also used Kawneer systems on the St Modwen student residences in Swansea and the John Taylor Free School in Burton.


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BDC 319 : Aug 2024