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Schöck meets steel frame challenge at Oxford Brookes University

The elegant new Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall designed by BGS Architects.

The elegant new Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall designed by BGS Architects. Schöck Ltd, royalty free.

Support for the external cladding is provided by cantilever connections to the universal columns.

Support for the external cladding is provided by cantilever connections to the universal columns. Schöck Ltd, royalty free.

Schöck Isokorb structural thermal breaks at strategic connectivity points.

Schöck Isokorb structural thermal breaks at strategic connectivity points. Schöck Ltd, royalty free.

Oxford Brookes University is one of the UK's top modern universities. It has a local, national and international reputation for teaching and research excellence and traces its roots to 1865 when it began as the Oxford School of Art. Recent significant investment in the estate has already resulted in multi award-winning facilities and this development is continuing with a ten-year, £220 million estate investment plan. One recently completed facility has seen the former Main Hall demolished and replaced with the Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall, an elegant building, designed by BGS Architects. It is a tribute to one of the most influential figures in the University’s history; and creates a multi-use space for teaching and other key university events, including graduation ceremonies, where it can accommodate over 600 guests.

Steel frame and cladding mean high thermal conductivity

Steel has a high thermal conductivity compared with many other construction materials and this means that both the structural steel frame and steel cladding system must be designed to minimise any unwanted heat flows. Steel elements must not be continuous through the cladding system. With the Sir Kenneth Wheare Hall, support for the external cladding was provided by cantilever connections to the universal columns and it was critical to provide a structural thermal break at strategic connectivity points. The Schöck Isokorb for steel-to-steel connectivity was the ideal solution. By thermally separating the exterior steel structure from the interior steel structure, these modular thermal insulation elements with their stainless steel components and Neopor® insulation, reliably mitigate the risk of condensation, mould formation and corrosion, The units are also able to withstand extremely demanding loads and are effective against both bending moment and shear force.

Totally verifiable performance

The product type used at Oxford Brookes is for steel-to-steel, but the comprehensive Isokorb range from Schöck also offers solutions for concrete-to-concrete, concrete-to-steel and – and even a maintenance free alternative to wrapped parapets. When any Isokorb product type is incorporated into residential buildings or public buildings, the required fRsi value – the temperature factor used to indicate condensation risk that must be equal to or greater than 0.75 – is always comfortably met. The range also complies with the Government Standard Assessment Procedure, SAP 2012, concerning CO2 emissions from buildings and respectively heat losses through non-repeating thermal bridges. Products meet full compliance with the relevant UK building regulations, have NHBC approval and offer LABC Registration. There is also the security of independent BBA Certification.

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