A Rainscreen Facade Can Help Restore Old Buildings to Former Glories

Travel around any town centre in the UK and you’ll often find dated buildings needing a little TLC.

Concrete and masonry-based buildings are beginning to look a little jaded and dilapidated compared with the modern equivalents we are rapidly becoming accustomed to.

Many of our aging buildings are heading out of fashion. Their attractiveness to investors and occupiers is dwindling.

It isn’t all doom and gloom, however. Icons of the past are being thrust into the modern day – both in design and functionality – by using a rainscreen cladding system.

Take Chester’s recently renovated Storyhouse development as an example. A once grand Odeon theatre had become an unemployed and ill-treated eye sore in the centre of the city.

A Grade II listed building originally constructed in the 1930s, the owners sought a modern solution to reinvigorate the weary building.

By utilising a new rainscreen facade such as the Proteus HR system, the Storyhouse designers have empowered a gleaming beacon in the heart of Chester to draw in a new generation and audience.

Keeping History At The Heart

Chester’s Storyhouse, after a £37m renovation, is now a state-of-the-art theatre, library, cinema and arts centre, aesthetically transformed using our very own TECU copper rainscreen cladding system.

The building now comprises of an 800 seat auditorium, along with a 150 seat studio theatre, a restaurant, two bars and a 100 seat cinema.

The theatre is clad entirely in our TECU copper material, and protrudes from the top of the main auditorium. The result is a visually impressive pavilion-esque silhouette in Chester’s relatively modest skyline.

Glass fins emanating from the main crux of the building compliment the copper facade and together, they form a prominent contemporary look against the original brickwork.

Chester’s largest public structure is sandwiched between the medieval Grade I listed cathedral and Victorian Grade II listed Town Hall, which only serves to underline its historical significance.

Identifying TECU copper as the material of choice for the project helped architects bypass the historical sensitivity of the area, as the material will weather in time to produce the characteristic patina common with copper facades.

An oxidised green appearance has another significant role to play in ensuring that history was at the very root of the redevelopment – it acts as a gesture towards the original Odeon roof. Project architect, Bennetts Associates, sourced the Proteus HR TECU copper to reflect the art deco design of the cinema in days gone by.

The studio theatre, the most visually striking component of the building, comprises of our honeycomb core cladding panels, making them lightweight and structurally sound. They are fitted to sturdy vertical mullions which are secured to the backing wall with adjustable support brackets.

In order for the visual design of the project to be deemed a success, the architects would need to extend outward from the original cinema building. Proportionally, the extensions relate directly to the existing structure, but the utilisation of impressive copper and glass textures emphasise the new additions.

Abstract rainscreen clad fins surround the theatre and add a new edge, with smooth facade panels and their metallic allure contributing factors in the decision to use TECU copper.

What Rainscreen Facades are Offering

With many buildings requiring a redevelopment to bring them up to modern standards, more and more designers are turning to rainscreen facades.

By providing a variety of materials and finishes, architects are looking to Proteus to restore older structures to their previous glory.

Our copper cladding at Chester’s Storyhouse serves as a prime example of how a rainscreen facade can lift an older building into the future whilst retaining its historical heritage.

It stands tall as a modern icon, yet comfortably coexists with a medieval cathedral and a grand Victorian town hall.

Our TECU range of copper and copper-alloy materials, Corten, painted brass, gold-effect, bronze, zinc or stainless steel metallic cladding panels will ensure aged buildings not only perform as new, but stand out as a bright hotbed of prosperity.

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Matthew Okafor