WICONA curtain walling solution for Rochdale Interchange – Europe’s first building to have integrated hydropower Generation
A highly innovative, bespoke and energy-efficient aluminium and glass façade solution has been developed and engineered by Wicona for a new landmark transport interchange in Rochdale – the first in Europe to use integrated hydropower.
Designed by architects AHR Architects and built by Kier Construction, this £11.5m project for Transport for Greater Manchester and Rochdale Council replaces an outdated bus station built in the 1970s and is part of a wider £250m redevelopment of Rochdale town centre.
Fundamental to the scheme’s design was to construct a fully enclosed single concourse with a high degree of transparency – creating a striking gateway into the town and a statement building, and improving safety and security for bus passengers.
The new interchange allows for around 160 bus movements an hour and links directly with the Metrolink extension which is due to open later this year. The facility has 14 bus stands which are co-ordinated by electronic passenger information displays and other amenities include a travel centre, public toilets, café and retail outlets.
Fabricated and installed by Glassolutions Installation, around 1,400sqm of Wicona’s WICTEC 50SG structurally glazed stick curtain walling was used at first and second floor levels, and for the large spans of glazing to the retail units inside the building. This solution delivered a frameless appearance to the external façade and visual consistency in the glazing across the project.
The WICTEC system was sufficiently robust to carry large spans of glass up to 3m high, allowing 360° views from inside the concourse. This maximises natural light to help reduce the building’s energy cost.
The curtain walling for the interchange features fixed glazing and was also faceted to follow the curved contours at each end of the building.
This was a particularly complex façade project because the facility is located on a sloping site, resulting in the angle increasing from one mullion to the next, which meant every pane of glass was different.
According to Alistair Branch, Project Architect at AHR Architects, “This was a challenging project because of the sloping site and the fact that there are very few straight lines in the building. The WICTEC system was sufficiently flexible to deliver all the technical requirements for this scheme – spans, loads and faceted elements, and to fit into a complex building envelope. It also met the client’s requirements for providing a seamless external façade with contemporary clean lines for a modern appearance.”
He added, “We are pleased to report the Wicona solution is performing very well and the approach has proved to be cost effective and brought value engineering opportunities to the project.”
The new facility is located next to the River Roch and is the first building of its kind in Europe to have integrated hydropower generation. A hydroelectric turbine converts energy from the river as it flows through a weir. This produces up to 86,000Wh of electricity per year, which will help to reduce the development’s carbon footprint by over a quarter.
Developed in Germany, Wicona’s WICTEC aluminium curtain walling suite has been used extensively for complex façade projects in both the UK and internationally. It features a wide range of structural aluminium profiles to accommodate vertical, angled, sloped and faceted situations for optimum creative freedom.
As with all Wicona products, the WICTEC curtain walling range is based on one single system and common components to simplify specification and reduce time and costs in fabrication and installation. The suite includes classic ‘stick’ curtain walling and unitised, structural glazing and double skin façades, meeting almost any application and building design – such as vertical and sloped glazing, pyramids and barrel vaulted roofs.