Student ‘digs’: reinvented

Garden Yoga, brunch clubs, a barista service, cinema, choice of studios or suites - student accommodation has come a long way in the last decade.

Fusion Students is a leading provider of student accommodation operating from locations nationwide including Cardiff, Swansea, Hatfield – and Sheffield, where we were appointed to supply windows doors and curtain walling, by main contractor, ISG.

It is redefining student accommodation, combining housing with health and well-being, making its studios and apartments a true ‘home away from home’.

Located in the heart of Sheffield and ideally located for students at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam, Fusion Students, is a four block 846-unit student accommodation scheme.

The site off Fitzwilliam Street, is  defined by a graduated profile, ranging in height across the four blocks from six-storeys at its lowest elevation to 17-storeys. This incorporates high end-communal facilities across ground and mezzanine levels including a cinema, gym and break out areas.

The £46.5million scheme makes significant use of commercial glazing. Supplied manufactured and installed by Acorn Aluminium, this includes two-storey curtain walling, bringing light and a sense of space into communal areas; and 1,150 windows.

The project, designed by architects Corstorphine & Wright, is scheduled for completion in summer this year (2021).

Acorn Aluminium supplied curtain walling and more than 1,000 aluminium windows to Fusion Students Sheffield. (Images courtesy of Corstorphine & Wright Architects)
Our approach

Acoustic specification was cited as a key part of the brief. The development is located in the heart of Sheffield’s bustling city centre, with much of the development facing a busy, and potentially noisy street.

Working with the architects, ISG, and acoustic consultants, we developed a dual specification of standard and acoustic energy efficient IGUs.

The latter were installed in those areas exposed to greatest noise including roadside and at lower levels. These were manufactured from a combination of 8.8mm acoustic laminates and 8mm toughened glass to achieve to achieve a Sound Reduction Index (RW) rating of 43.

We balanced the requirement for a high degree of sound insulation in these outwardly facing elements of the building with RW ratings of 32 and 38 in other areas of the building less exposed to street noise.

Combined with aluminium commercial windows manufactured in the SPW600 system from Senior Architectural Systems, we were able to develop, manufacture and install the window element of the scheme to deliver advanced acoustic performance in those areas where it was required, but to support cost-effective delivery by avoiding over-specification of performance elsewhere.

Acoustic sound insulation formed a critical part of the specification (Images courtesy of Corstorphine & Wright Architects)
Additional considerations

Acoustic performance was also a key consideration for the curtain walling.

This was designed, manufactured and installed by us in the Senior Architectural systems SF52 Curtain Walling System.

Installed throughout the four residential buildings, it forms a key element in defining the overall aesthetic of building including lobby areas, making space inside bright and welcoming.

Product overview Senior Architectural Systems SPW600 aluminium commercial window system

The Seinor SPW600 is a highly versatile 75mm window system, the SPW600e, represents an evolution of Senior Architectural Systems SPW600 window, delivering an enhanced level of thermal performance

 by combining the latest polyamide thermal breaking technologies, with additional thermal inserts. Accommodating glass units of up to 56mm, this combines to create a highly cost-effective commercial window capable of achieving a BFRC A Rating. 

  • Energy efficient three chamber 75mm system using Polyamide thermal breaking technologies to deliver an enhanced level of thermal performance
  • Available in top and side hung casement options including inward opening and tilt-and-turn options
  • Achieves a BFRC A Rating
  • U-values as low as 1.3W/m2K
  • Enhanced security Secured by Design compliant option
Product overview Senior Architectural Systems SF52 Curtain Walling

The SF52 curtain walling system from Senior Systems, draws on ‘all the best bits’ from Senior’s other curtain walling systems and brings them together into a single offer!

It’s defined by a consistent slim 52mm sightline, delivering levels of thermal efficiency far beyond current building regulations.

It also offers an exceptional level of flexibility and is suitable for both ground floor and high-rise applications, with full weather testing to CWCT and EN13830.

It has a life expectancy of 40 years or more and is 100% recyclable at end of life.

Senior Systems SF52 aluminium curtain walling:
  • Can be assembled in any combination of capped, vertically capped, horizontally capped or silicone glazed to create a unique external facade. A variety of caps allows even more aesthetic possibilities.
  • Choose from Zone drained or Mullion drained (fully capped only).
  • Large range of transom & mullion sizes with additional reinforcing sleeves and boxes from 50-250mm plus the option of concealed steel reinforcing to allow larger spans.
  • Raked heads for a range of apex angles can be achieved using a specially designed shear block.
  • Fully compatible with any of our windows (including frameless vents) plus both manual and automated doors.
  • Available in an almost unlimited choice of colours and finishes both externally and internally.
  • End Client: Fusion Students
  • £46.5million development completed Summer 2021
  • Commercial partners: architects Corstorphine & Wright. Main contractor ISG. Glass Saint Gobain
  • Four block 846-unit student accommodation scheme.
  • Key requirement: acoustic performance, designed to achieve 43RW rating
  • 1150 windows in Senior Architectural Systems SPW600 commercial aluminium window system
  • SF52 aluminium curtain walling designed manufactured and installed by Acorn Aluminium
Closing thoughts

“Having the scale to cope is always important. With four different blocks and more than 1000 windows to supply, plus curtain walling, this was a sizeable project with a very specific requirement on acoustics. Working in partnership with ISG, and our glass supplier, Saint Gobain, we were able to deliver a highly effective solution to those areas of the build that required it, while balancing that requirement with cost effective delivery”, Paul concludes.  

For more information, please contact:
Paul Stevens, Commercial Director, Acorn Aluminium
tel. 0115 9282166


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