Acorn appointed to Nottingham City Centre Student Scheme

Part of the City’s Creative Quarter, the 354-student development by Watkin Jones, includes a mix of 271 cluster beds and 83 studios, plus social lounges, gym and study space.

Designed by architects ECE Westworks, we have secured the £1.7m contract to supply 600m2 of Curtain Walling and 2000m2 of windows plus doors to the £40 million scheme.

The brownfield development is designed to be highly sustainable – targeting BREEAM excellent with a reduced carbon footprint. Alongside the use of Air Source Heat Pumps, this will be achieved through an enhanced level of insulation and low air permeability. 

As part of this approach, glazing elements have been specified to achieve an ultra-low 1.4W/m2K U-value. Given its city centre location, a high level of acoustic insulation was specified, which new windows and doors achieving a 36db acoustic rating.

“The project is pushing for a BREEAM excellent rating, with windows, doors and curtain walling, playing an important part in its delivery. In addition to high levels of thermal performance, the high acoustic rating specified on this project is typical of PBSA projects, which are often in city centre locations or close to busy roads and other transport links.”

Paul Stevens, Managing Director, Acorn Aluminium

The scheme will add much-needed student housing capacity in the city and serve Nottingham’s two successful universities, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University, while freeing up housing stock in the private residential market. 

Products used

Curtain walling is being supplied in RAL7016 Anthracite Grey. Acorn Aluminium is also installing specially designed perforated feature panels to the scheme. 

The SF52 curtain walling system from Senior Architectural Systems is defined by a consistent slim 52mm sightline. 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. 

The Senior SPW600 is a highly versatile 75mm window system, while it’s also available in the SPW600e enhanced thermal option, which uses additional thermal inserts on top of the latest polyamide thermal breaking technologies used across the range. 

Accommodating glass units of up to 56mm, this combines to create a highly cost-effective commercial window capable of achieving a BFRC A Rating.

“We’ve developed extensive expertise in the PBSA sector, working across a number of high-profile city centre sites across the UK”, Paul said.

“Those sites tend to share similar characteristics. They’re close to transport links, creating that acoustic element, and they often have a comparatively small footprint with restricted access.

“That requires a level of specialism in approach, in terms of product specification and design, to make sure that windows and doors deliver the expected levels of comfort and performance. It also requires flexibility, working effectively alongside delivery partners sometimes logistically challenging sites.

“We have experience and expertise in both.” 

The 26-week installation programme is scheduled for completion in May 2023. 

For more about Acorn Aluminium please call 0115 928 2166, email or visit


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