Brent Civic Centre

The Brent Civic Centre is a multipurpose community centre which is located opposite the Wembley Arena and Wembley Stadium in London and contains theatre, concert and festival halls for weddings etc.

The concept behind the impressive foyer and atrium was to create a flexible space in which the large public stair acts as seating for the "Wembley Live" events. It also houses a modern library and learning centre.

With this new building, the local council was able to encapsulate its vision for a central communal administration centre with social, public and administrative functions.

The various areas of the building are arranged around a raised foyer and atrium, which are flooded with natural light and also house a large public amphitheatre and a flight of steps. The programme of highly regarded art events and cultural experiences hosted here raise the building’s standing even further. A rotunda clad in timber lesenes, known as The Drum, stands in the centre of the building and houses a multi-purpose community venue, a library, a citizens’ centre and a council chamber.

This draft included a range of different facade systems, which led to a number of complex interfaces during the project’s planning and assembly phase. The design called for pre-assembled large-scale facade elements to be used, along with a mullion-transom system that had to be assembled on site.

A unique approach was applied to overcome the challenge of handling 16 different variety of facades in a range of materials.

  • Panel facades on the floors containing offices
  • Suspended, point-fixed glass facades in the area around the atrium
  • SG facades in front of the stair wells
  • Steel P/R systems with built-in glass solar shading slats on the main facade
  • Modular dual-skin facades with sound-absorbing wooden balustrades
  • Heat-insulating panels with window hinges and wooden lesenes in the area around The Drum

This complicated facade design presented countless challenges for the local assembly team.

The building was awarded the coveted BREEAM certificate (system for evaluating ecological and socio-cultural aspects of building sustainability) with the rating "Outstanding". The Brent Civic Centre is the country’s first project in its category to be awarded this high rating. The CO2emissions were cut by 33% thanks to the use of solar shading, natural ventilation, high-performance facades and a combination of cooling, heating and power supply systems. It is the UK’s most sustainable municipal building of its time.

Natural ventilation is provided through Top-Hung and Projecting Top-Hung windows with hidden chain drives that are connected to the overarching BMS and can be positioned with millimetre-accuracy as required. The technology provided by Gretsch-Unitas for the building’s openings was developed specially for this project in conjunction with the fabricator and underwent a durability test in GU’s in-house testing facility to ensure its fitness for use.

Concealed monitoring contacts were also used for status monitoring. These contacts can be used to clearly check the closed and locked position of the window elements and offers an additional benefit for the building management system.

GU solution: Projecting Top-Hung windows in aluminium post-and-mullion system

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