Sheffield specialist engineering firm SCX Special Projects has opened the door on a stunning articulated steel facade at a high-profile office and residential development in central London.
It supplied the facade and designed, built and installed the mechanism that allows two huge decorative portcullis panels to open or close in just 15 seconds.
The company worked closely with MAX Architects and Kier Construction as part of a regeneration project for Royal London Asset Management at 25 Wilton Road – opposite Victoria Station in one of the most desirable and visible locations in the capital.
Kier, renowned for delivering high profile property redevelopment projects, sought SCX’s expertise and flair in mechanical handling and lifting solutions to enable the portcullis doors to be lifted and lowered whilst remaining in full view.
The two panels on the building’s distinctive front elevation are predominantly polished stainless steel and have a stunning stencil-like design by artist Chloe Steele.
SCX Special Projects supplied the panels, cut to the artist’s design using high pressure water jets. They are 15mm thick, measure 3m by 2m, and weigh over 800 kg each.
The company, which is based in Wincobank, Sheffield, was also responsible for the mechanism for the facade.
The engineering challenge went further than mechanical, including electrical systems and ensuring safety controls.
Using hand-power alone, the panels can be lifted or lowered in just 15 seconds, safely held by mechanical locks whilst in the raised position. The doors function as security shutters when closed, and when raised they remain in full view above the entrance.
SCX’s innovative design cleverly integrates into the slim metal framework, while the innovative counterweight mechanism is on display in the building’s foyer, behind polycarbonate panels.
Max Titchmarsh, founder of MAX Architects, adds:
“The Portico at the main entrance to this significant development was crucial to creating a buffer from the busy street and delivering the impact the entrance required. The design of the Portcullis doors exposes the mechanism and frames the artwork in way which adds real interest to the principal interest. It is unique and we’re very pleased with the result.”
Kier Construction’s senior quantity surveyor, Martin Melges, said:
“The articulated panels add both form and function to the front elevation of the building. SCX’s mastery over moving structures combines effortlessly with Chloe’s striking design to make the steel doors look as graceful as the architect intended.”
Danny Pickard, lead engineer at SCX Special Projects, comments:
“Clients such as Kier look to us to solve unique mechanical engineering problems. The articulated facade at 25 Wilton Road is no exception.”
“We are seeing a trend towards more moving structures in architecture. It’s a new route for architects to take – no longer do buildings have to be rigid and static. The facade looks fantastic, and it was a pleasure to work with everyone involved.”