Nottingham University Samworth Academy (NUSA), a new secondary school, is part of the UK government’s initiative to roll out academies across the country. Designed by Atkins Global architects, the design features a cable-supported, single skin ETFE roof over an unheated internal street with classrooms facing the street. The roof, fabricated by Base Structures Ltd., besides providing shelter, permits a high level of natural light to reach the street and the classroom windows.
Initially conceived as a vertical cladding panel system, the TEXO® cladding system is used here for the first time as an alternative to a glazed skylight, benefiting from the low weight of the components. The single skin ETFE system is almost 40% cheaper than glass and one tenth the weight, including the framing. Virtually indistinguishable from conventional glazing, the TEXO system provides 97% translucency. All of the 96 framed panels were assembled in shop and delivered as complete units to the site. Each of the 8m by 1.2m panels weighs only 45kg, and was easily lifted by two men, avoiding the need for lifting gear. The panels were packed 24 to a crate and lifted onto an adjoining roof where two installers put them into position. A total of four installers were able to install up to 75m2 in one day. According to Base Structures, the system has a 30-year lifespan.