building envelope

High flyer

Ceramic granite ventilated cladding meets the aesthetic goals for the UK’s largest Hampton by Hilton hotel while providing a robust facade to withstand an airport environment.

THE new 357 room Hampton by Hilton is the latest addition to the hospitality offer at Stanstead Airport. The £27m hotel has been designed by Leach Rhodes Walker Architects to mirror the terminal building. “The building was inspired by the

terminal building, but, although we wanted to create a synergy of form, we also needed to differentiate the hospitality nature of the hotel building in contrast to the commercial functionality of the surrounding airport buildings,” says lead architect, Alessio Venturi. Shackerley’s SureClad ceramic granite

ventilated cladding system has been used across the façades of the C-shaped building. Specified in a variegated grey/white colourway with a natural finish, the panel is sympathetic to local surroundings. “The building’s design has been inspired

by both its context as part of the wider airport estate and by my own heritage in Rome. The series of columns at the front of the building creates an active frontage

that connects with the surrounding infrastructure and draws upon design influences from the buildings of Rome’s EUR district, an area of the city that was constructed for the proposed Universal Exposition of Rome in 1942,” Venturi explains. The size and spacing of the ceramic

granite panels was central to achieving the architect’s aesthetic aspirations for the project. More than 10,000 panels were individually cut to meet the requirements of the building. The building has been designed to

maximise the light within each room but room size and orientation varies across the building, prompting differing window sizes. These design principles have also

affected the way the cladding system has been installed, says Venturi: “The façade is based on a repeated module placed between the 500mm wide columns which are repeated consistently across the building. Each module is divided into either

two or three parts to define the width of the windows and the panels on the façade.” While SureClad®

facades are usually

installed with an 8mm open joint between each ceramic granite panel, the architects wanted the system to express the two or three part division of each module and a design decision was taken to expand the joint to 15mm. This increased gap between the panels provides a visible indication of the geometry used to design the façade. The proximity of the hotel to the

terminal building, hangars and runway create a tough environment for the façade, with airborne pollutants that could cause a risk of discolouration or degradation to many façade materials. However, the impermeability of the ceramic granite system means that it will resist the harsh conditions of its location and keep its appearance over time with minimal maintenance. 23

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