Kingspan TEK cladding panel circles the Word in striking Tyneside cultural centre

3 April 2017

Kingspan TEK has demonstrated its cultural flair – and its structural agility – with the use of its cladding panels to create the striking circular facade of a £16 million library and exhibition centre in South Shields in Tyneside.

Contractors Bowmer & Kirkland supervised the project, named ‘The Word, National Centre for the Written Word’. The three-storey structure designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects, includes library and exhibition space, IT suite, 3D printers, and café.

The development was completed in October 2016 and is part of a £100 million regeneration masterplan, which partners South Tyneside Council with Muse Developments.

Creating a curved structure can pose a challenge, but the Kingspan TEK cladding panel was successfully engineered to provide a smooth, highly insulated exterior envelope. To achieve this, the structural insulated panels (SIPs) were designed and factory cut into narrow widths. This allowed them to be quickly and easily fixed to the concrete frame.

“The form and design approach of this iconic building seeks to establish a new benchmark in terms of quality of design, use of materials, and integration of public realm within the wider urban fabric of South Shields,” said Steve McIntyre, partner at FaulknerBrowns. “This circular form encourages pedestrian movement between the town centre and the Riverside as well as having a striking and contemporary presence. The circular construction achieved with the Kingspan TEK cladding panel helped us to accomplish the concept of the spreading pages of a book.”

The 142 mm Kingspan TEK cladding panel installed on ‘The Word’ can help to achieve U-values of 0.20 W/m2.K or better whilst its OSB/3 facing and unique jointing system helps to minimise unnecessary air loss. The manufacturing facility where the panels are produced carries both FSC (FSC-C109304) and PEFC Chain of Custody certification. Also, there are constructions available that correspond to BRE Global Green Guide generic elements which achieve a Summary Rating of A+.

Councillor John Anglin, lead member for regeneration and economy at South Tyneside Council, said: “The new building needed to reflect our Sustainable Development goals, which is why we opted for low environmental impact and sustainable materials with a Green Guide rating of A or A+ whenever we could. This is to help us with our target of receiving a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. We were also keen to ensure all timber used on the library was FSC certified or equivalent.”