Aluminium building solution in European ‘first’

A new transport interchange in the UK – the first in Europe to use integrated hydropower – has been built with an energy-efficient aluminium-and-glass façade solution developed by the aluminium building systems brand Wicona.

Designed by architects Aedas and built by Kier Construction, the £11.5m project for Transport for Greater Manchester and Rochdale Council has replaced an outdated bus station built in the 1970s.The project is part of a wider redevelopment of the Rochdale town center.

Fundamental to the scheme’s design was to construct a fully enclosed single concourse with a high degree of transparency – creating a striking gateway into the town and a statement building, and improving safety and security for bus passengers.

Fabricated and installed by Glassolutions Installation, around 1,400 square meters of Wicona’s WICTEC 50SG structurally glazed stick curtain walling was used on the first and second-floor levels, and for the large spans of glazing to the retail units inside the building.

The WICTEC system was sufficiently robust to carry large spans of glass up to three meters high, allowing 360-degree views from inside the concourse. This maximizes natural light to help reduce the building’s energy cost.

Every pane different

This was a particularly complex façade project because the facility is located on a sloping site, resulting in the angle increasing from one mullion to the next, which meant every pane of glass was different.

“The WICTEC system was sufficiently flexible to deliver all the technical requirements for this scheme – spans, loads and faceted elements, and to fit into a complex building envelope,” says project architect Alistair Branch of Aedas.

“It also met the client’s requirements for providing a seamless external façade with contemporary clean lines for a modern appearance.”

First in Europe

The new facility is located next to the River Roch and is the first building of its kind in Europe to have integrated hydropower generation. A hydro-electric turbine converts energy from the river as it flows through a weir. This produces up to 86,000Wh of electricity per year, which will help to reduce the development’s carbon footprint by over a quarter.

Wicona is one of Sapa’s aluminium building systems brands.

  • Visit for more information about the brand’s aluminium systems
600450 Aluminium building solution in European ‘first’
Date: 22 August 2014

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