Morgan Sindall clads £11.6m building with thatch

Grant Prior 8 years ago
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Morgan Sindall is installing a thatched cladding system on its £11.6m Enterprise Centre site at the University of East Anglia.

The centre claims to be the UK’s greenest commercial building and the thatch cassette cladding system combines traditional crafts with modern methods of construction.

Morgan Sindall said it is the first time a thatch cassette cladding system has been used anywhere in the world.

The process involves fabricating a set of timber cassette modules that are filled with straw in local thatchers’ barns across Norfolk.

The prefabricated thatch cassette panels are then transported to site and erected onto the façade of the building as a rainscreen cladding.

The cassettes have been constructed by local joiners, Fox Joinery, and thatched in straw from the Norfolk Suffolk borders by a skilled team led by the Master Thatcher of East Anglia, Stephen Letch.

Stuart Thompson, senior design manager at Morgan Sindall, said: “Sourcing local materials and connecting with local suppliers, craftsmen and tradespeople were key commitments on this project.

“The straw that has been used for the thatch was sourced less than 20 miles from the site and our delivery team uses the skills of a group of local thatchers.

“Thatching is a traditional craft which is generally in decline but we have already seen evidence that by using thatch in this innovative way on this project, the trade is generating a renewed interest that will help to reinvigorate this industry locally, and in time, nationally.

“Thatch is a carbon-negative material, it’s also highly insulative and offers exceptional rainscreen protection – so it is a great material to use as cladding.

“The use of cassettes to place the thatch on the walls as cladding is a unique approach and a great example of the creativity and originality which the project team has brought to this project.”

Around 294 cassettes will be installed onto the building over the coming months, covering 1,200 square metres – the equivalent of ten domestic dwellings.

 

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