When the fine detailing counts: The Island Manchester

Acorn Aluminium started on site at Bowmer + Kirkland’s landmark ‘Island’ development in the centre of Manchester in August, following extensive testing and modelling ahead of time.  

The scheme

Bowmer + Kirkland’s ‘Island’ development by architects Cartwright Pickard, Bowmer + Kirkland’s 10-storey Island development, is in construction in the centre of Manchester.

Image of the Island, Manchester
The Island

Scheduled for completion in 2024, the next generation development bound by John Dalton Street. Ridgefield, Bow Street and South King Street, will create 100,000 sq ft of Net Zero Carbon workspace. 

Delivering a creative and dynamic environment aimed at facilitating collaboration, features will include breakout rooms, meeting spaces and a roof terrace.

The design is defined by the use of natural materials including brick stone and timber – and biophilic natural materials to bring the outdoors indoors, creating a more natural workspace.

Minimising environmental impact

The Island has been designed to raise the bar for sustainability, this includes:

  • EPC A rating, Naberts 5.5 stars, and BREEAM Excelent
  • Aligns with UK Green Buildings Council Net Zero carbon buildings framework
  • Uses resilient technology infrastuture to support occupiers ESG
  • Energy consumption will be 46% lower than the 2020 Real Estate Environmental Benchmark

“Manchester’s Island rips up the traditional definition of office space, creating a light, collaborative and carefully considered working environment, designed to positively contribute to the wellbeing, health, productivity and organisational efficiencies of those who occupy it.

“At the same time its’ build and commitment to carbon neutrality, minimises the impact of those activities on the environment.” 

Paul Stevens, Managing Director, Acorn Aluminium

The brief

Acorn Aluminium was appointed to design, supply and install 2,500mof curtain walling, windows and doors in Senior Architectural Systems SF52 Curtain Waling System and SPW600 Windows to the scheme, as well as SPW501 doors.

Achieving a u-value of 1.4W/m2K, windows doors and curtain walling will be supplied to offsite construction specialist Techrete, Lincoln and installed ahead of delivery to site. 

About the curves

The corners of the first two storeys of the scheme have been ‘softened’ with curved and rolled curtain walling and curved insulated glazed units, supplied by Acorn Aluminium.

Geometric panelling

The scheme also features anodic PPC metal laser-cut feature vent panels, also supplied and fitted by Acorn Aluminium. 

Real world modelling

As part of our appointment, we worked alongside other trades to create a complete trial installation on site. This encompassed the concrete panel, steel frame, curtain walling and windows, plus brickwork.

“Two-dimensional design is one thing. It tells you what should work together. Creating a physical mock-up which brings the different materials of the envelope together in a real environment, delivers infinitely more insight.

“On a project like The Island where so much care and attention to detail has gone into fine detailing of the scheme as a key element of its over-arching aesthetic, its invaluable.”

Paul Stevens, Managing Director, Acorn Aluminium

The exercise highlighted a number of small but important considerations for design, installation and transportation from the offsite modular environment to construction sight. 

This included the protrusion of the cill of 25mm beyond the edge of the brickwork. This would have impacted on transport and created a risk of damage. Having identified this as a risk, we decided to retro-fit the cills on site. 

It also highlighted the visibility of rivet holes which stood out against the ultra-matt Anodic Bronze finish chosen for the scheme. In response we adjusted our manufacturing process to rivet the panel using a “concealed” position.

Rigorous quality control

Manufactured by Acorn, and fitted by our installation teams in Techrete’s modular site, windows have been installed in a factory environment, bringing increased control to installation, with rigorous quality checks in place throughout the process.

This includes the placement of our own teams ‘on site’ as part of Techrete’s build process, including non-working ‘off-the tools’ installation supervisor to coordinate delivery and liaise with other trades in exactly the same way as we would in a traditional build.

These extend to location, where each fitted window is checked in location, photographed and signed off as part of our quality control process with site management teams. 

Product overview

Senior Architectural Systems SF52 Curtain Walling

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. 

Senior Architectural Systems SPW600 Aluminium Windows

The Senior SPW600 is a highly versatile 75mm window system, while its 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. 

Expertise in off-site construction

The project expands on Acorn Aluminium’s expertise in supply of product to off-site programmes. This has also recently included Torsion Group’s £65million Saxton Lane development in the centre of Leeds.

“This is a very exciting project which is at the vanguard of new generation schemes that are redefining our approach to the design of workspaces, making them better for those who use the and for the environment.

“The attention to detail shown in this scheme, its use of modular construction, but also the decision to combine that with physical modelling of the envelope on site, demonstrates an equally innovative and collaborative approach, which has been fundamental in supporting effective delivery.

“It’s a scheme we’re very proud to be a part of.” 

Paul Stevens, Managing Director, Acorn Aluminium

For more about Acorn Aluminium please call 0115 928 2166, email info@acornaluminium.com or visit www.acornalumnium.com

Want to find out more about what we offer?

We’re here to help you plan, design and deliver your next project.