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Roman excavations delay Wrightstyle school project

August 2, 2012

Wrightstyle, the Devizes-based steel glazing company, has supplied a range of advanced systems to a school in Neath, South Wales, in a project that was significantly delayed because of important archaeological excavations.

The £8 million Dwr y Felin Comprehensive School project saw construction of a new two-storey 3,200 square metre teaching block,comprising a number of classrooms, IT suites, assembly hall, staff accommodation and a cyber café, compliant with BREEEAM requirements.

Project delivery was complicated by the discovery on-site of a Roman fort built in the 1st century, a structure never previously seen in the UK, and which was constructed as a defence against the hostile Silures tribe – and who may have gifted the Welsh rugby team their red jerseys.

Wrightstyle provided approximately 600 square metres of large-span curtain walling with enhanced security, automated thermally broken aluminium windows, window vents, louvered plant room doors, and thermally broken security doors.

The company used its bespoke SR60 large-span
curtain wall profiles (60 x 180 x 3mm & 5mm) in order to achieve the large
seven metre free spans of glazing required by the design team, and which
additionally had to meet high wind loading criteria.

“The school’s motto is “it is not good if it is not
your best” and that summed up how we had to approach this project, with
large-span configurations, high wind loading characteristics – and a
number of difficult interfaces with adjoining timber and brickwork
finishes,” said Lee Coates, Wrightstyle technical director. 

“However, our systems have all been rigorously tested to EU, US and Far Eastern standards, and are installed in a number of high-value buildings in, for example, Singapore and Hong Kong – a typhoon area – where wind loading can be significantly higher than South Wales,” he said.  “However, despite design constraints, the external curtain walling also incorporated slim 60mm sightlines to enhance the aesthetics of the elevation.”

Wrightstyle has been specified for a large number of educational projects both in the UK and internationally, most recently for the
£1.6 million refurbishment of a school in Weston-Super-Mare, housed in a Grade II Listed building. 
The project required Wrightstyle
to design and install
secondary glazing assemblies to exterior windows – each of which had a unique size, and required the
company to custom design and fabricate ten separate elliptical head openings,
which had up to three different radii in one curve.

The company has an international reputation for its bespoke design, fabrication and installation capability, providing a comprehensive range of specialist internal and external glass and glazing systems, which include curtain walling, fire screens, doors and windows, to protect against fire, ballistic or bomb attack.

The Silures tribe, who occupied the Neath area, waged a ferocious guerrilla campaign against the Romans, and in one
battle managed to defeat an entire Roman legion.  An academic at the University of Wales, Newport, believes
that the Welsh red rugby jersey may have originated from the tribe’s favourite battle colour.  Certainly, Dwr y Felin school, and its Neath predecessors, have more than their fair share of rugby alumni, including former Welsh internationals such as John Bevan, the former international referee Clive Norling, Stephen Baines (former chief executive of the International Rugby Board), and Dennis Gethin, the current President of the Welsh Rugby Union.

For more information on Wrightsyle visit http://www.wrightstyle.co.uk/

Architect: Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

Main Contractor: BAM
Construction

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