Case Studies

Articles in Category: Front Elevation - Case Studies

WWF HQ, Living Planet Centre, Woking Surrey


WWF HQ Woking


The WWF Centre is elevated upon a concrete plinth which forms a ground level car park which had to be retained as part of the planning consent



The HQ of any establishment should reflect the ethos and aspirations of the client so when the brief is to design and construct a completely new hub for The World Wildlife Foundation sustainability was at the forefront of every decision.




WWF HQ Woking Two


The Hopkins Architects designed complex features a timber and steel frame with large areas of glass providing plenty of natural light.


The Living Planet Centre was designed by Hopkins Architects and constructed by Willmott Dixon with the aim of achieving the highest possible BREEAM ‘Outstanding’  rating and setting a benchmark for sustainability. The site is on the very fringe of Woking just a few wheel spins from The McLaren HQ, another iconic building. The planning consent involved retaining the existing public car parking space which enabled the architects to elevate the building as if it was on a series of pedestals. Whist having the airspace beneath the building creates a number of issues with thermal and acoustic insulation it elevates the building in every sense. The foundation frame consists of fair faced concrete on which the timber, glass and steel framed building rather regally sits.


WWF HQ Woking Three


The building features plenty of Natural Light and is also naturally ventilated




The 37.5 metre timber curved trusses are constructed from laminated timber capped with a zinc roof with photovoltaic panels and metal wind cowls to aid the natural air ventilation system. With the eastern and western ends being glazed, timber louvers have been added to limit solar gain.


WWF HQ Woking Four


In line with the ethos of the WWF the timber all came from providers who could garauntee they were responsibly sourced including much of the flooring panels.


As with many modern workspaces the atria or hub is an essential component of the design allowing staff to congregate in a light and airy space for meetings or just to grab a coffee. The double height complex has enabled the hub to be more of a ‘street’ which runs through the building which dissects the first floor forming a mezzanine arrangement around the inner rim. The less formal arrangement inside allows for great flexibility within the building so that areas can be re-arranged to suit the immediate staff needs and any future requirements.


WWF HQ Woking Eleven


As with almost all modern commercial bildings, there is a 'Hub' for staff to meet both formally and socially. This has both natural light and natural ventilation (Via the floor plenum)


The whole of the flooring areas consist of a Mero Raised Access System which not only meet all of the sustainability criteria but also offer a plethora of other technical requirements with regard to natural air ventilation and thermal insulation.


WWF HQ Woking Ten


Glass & Natural Timber are complimented by the mezzanine floor arrangement which has an open centre enabling the rooflights to illuminate the whole building.



The commitment by WWF was to ensure resources used in the building came from sustainable sources resulting in Willmott Dixon issuing some very impressive statistics

  •                 80% of aggregates by volume throughout the construction were recycled
  •                     98.9% of building elements classed as being responsibly sourced by the BRE
  •                     99% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  •                            42% reduction in embodied carbon of materials through design and procurement choices


WWF HQ Woking Six



There is public access to part of the building so that the regular exhibitions can be viewed and information on the charity and its fundraising can be obtained.


WWF HQ Woking Eight


MERO-SCHMIDLIN supplied and installed Raised Access Flooring throughout the building using both responsibly sourced and recycled materials


The Raised Access Flooring System is now an almost fundamental choice in modern building design as it not only allows for masses of building control cables, ducts, flues and pipework to be hidden from view, it is also used to provide an airtight plenum so that naturally ventilated air can be dispersed throughout the complex via vents in the floor. This requires the system to meet various air tight tests throughout the building but also floor voids have to be flame retardant to avoid any ignition within the void spreading or being fed with air from the ventilation outlets. With the move to fresh air rather than air conditioning the floor has become a vital component within the air distribution system. The joints within the flooring support panels and floor coverings have an important part to play in providing air tight seals. It is vitally important that the support panels do not flex and that they are all correctly supported by correctly positioned adjustable steel pedestals. There is a high degree of specialist design involved in the process and in order to meet the sustainable criteria the panels were calcium sulphate and the support pedestals have a high recycled steel content. The MERO Combi T System was the only raised flooring system which met all of this criteria and coupled with recycled chipboard flooring boards, met the responsible sourcing brief as well.


WWF HQ Recept Woking Seven





As with any commercial building the ground floor and mezzanine have a wide variety of uses served by different floor coverings. The areas to be tiled were succinctly served by the use of Strata Merazzo Composite Tiles  which again contained high levels of recycled content. The Mero Combi T system allows for these to be factory bonded to the upper panels reducing both wet trades but perhaps more importantly allowing the areas to be trafficked by other trades given the correct levels of protection. These attributes allow the floor areas to be brought into use very quickly saving hundreds of hours of site time and the associated expense. The highly adaptable system carries carpet tiles, vinyl flooring and composite tiles to suit the individual needs of each area. The floor vents are sited within the central areas and alongside the exterior glass curtain walling offering an unobtrusive range of outlets plus the necessary inspection access points.

The 3600m2 building has a range of cutting edge features which will undoubtedly influence designs within the very near future with the now traditional ground source heat pumps and rainwater recycling.


For more info on the fantastic work done by the WWF AND how you can contribute please see WWF Website


For more info on MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC see  MERO-SCHMIDLIN website


All Photographs and text by Paul Scott, Front Elevation











Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, 2013 RIBA Stirling Prize

Whilst it might not have secured this years Stirling Prize, Bishop Edward King Chapel remains a stunning building.

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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College features Clipsham Limestone by The Stamford Stone Co installed by Szerelmey Ltd


Very occasionally a building comes along which sits so comfortably within its natural surroundings that it seems almost organic . Despite the very modern approach from the award winning, Niall McLaughlin Architects, the chapel's use of traditional materials has not disturbed the tranquillity of its majestic setting  of Ripon College, which is a theological college in rural Oxfordshire dating back to the 1850's. The chapel was funded by The Sisters of the communities of St John Baptist and the Good Shepherd and is named after Edward King who as a priest and then as a bishop was chaplain and then principal of Cuddesdon Theological College before becoming Bishop of Lincoln in 1885.

Whilst the original structures by G E Street are spread across a very generous and open site, it is immediately apparent that Natural Stone has been used extensively giving the buildings a common bond. The stone used 160 years ago would have been quarried locally but is alas no longer available. One of the reasons that the buildings, the chapel is one of two new buildings on the site, feel so at home within their surroundings is the meticulous detail that has gone into the stone selection embracing the extensive experience of Harrison Goldman Stone Consultants.

Peter Harrison, Chairman of Harrison Goldman, past President of the Stone Federation Great Britain (SFGB) and a Deputy Chairman of the SFGB technical committee went on to comment - "Cast Stone is increasingly being used on a cost saving agenda but in my view it lacks the soul of natural stone which has a unique patina providing both a depth and a life of its own. The stone weathers giving the building a maturity and a very individual appearance. Bishop Edward King Chapel is one of the best projects I have been involved in for many years and  I consider it on a par with the Diana Memorial and work on Buckingham Palace where I have been commissioned as the specialist natural stone consultant. I am lecturing to many of the world's top architects in Verona at The International Trade Fair for Stone Design & Technology in September and will be majoring on the Ripon College project".


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 Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College Cuddesdon - Stunning Stonework


Having carried out the necessary research including colour matching and technical test data the decision was made to use Clipsham Limestone from The Stamford Stone quarry just outside of Peterborough. Clipsham Limestone has been used prominently in nearby Oxford as well as in Kings College Chapel in Cambridge, York Minster and even as far back as Windsor Castle almost 700 years ago, as such its durability and pedigree were never in doubt. Peter Harrison added " Taking into account the geographic location, frost resistance was a key factor and the Clipsham Limestone was the only stone Harrison Goldman found that had sufficient test data to show it was fit for purpose"

With the architects having secured the commission after a competition attracting 126 entries from far and wide, the winning design needed to be exceptional. Despite the architects citing many influences from Rudolph Schwarz to the recently departed Seamus Heaney, the resulting structure remains very individual. The brief called  for "not just a building but a work of art which would touch the spirit"

The design draws from various physical shapes from the elliptical floor plan reflecting "The cupped hands from praying" or the  "Ship of Souls".


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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon


Beard Construction secured the project under a competitive tender process which owed more to attention to detail than price. It was felt from their presentation that they fully understood the dynamics of the project and the attention to detail required in its construction. Their long standing working relationship with the colleges of Oxford obviously reflected their ability in this type of project. They quickly assembled a team of specialist suppliers and sub-contractors who would not be daunted by the task ahead. Pre-Construction Manager, Martin Wareham was under no illusions " We appreciated the detail, precision and quality of finish required and it became clear at the very early stages that the chapel was destined to become a 'portfolio' project."

Our main concern on starting the project was accuracy, making sure that all of the elements met in the right places and this required a lot of workshops with the suppliers and specialist contractors. For example the interior Glulam Columns had to meet up with the Stone and Blockwork with tolerances of plus / minus 2-3mm on a 12 metre high structure. The work involved a great deal of time with our site surveyors continually monitoring progress. Whilst there had been plenty of 3D modelling by the architects and engineers prior to us starting, once we were on site it was old fashioned engineering with surveyors and theodolites taking constant readings.


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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon - Fantastic detail and precision blockwork


The 11m high single storey building has a teardrop shaped floor plan influenced initially by the elliptical shape of the cupped hands of worshippers when praying, and consists of three distinctive horizontal layers each using the Clipsham Natural Stone in varying guises. The lower 3.5 metres consists of hand cut ashlar blocks which are gently curved with each unique section referenced as to its exact position within the structure. The beauty of this buff coloured Oolitic  Jurassic Limestone is immediately apparent showing the grain within each section giving it both a uniformity of colour and texture whilst paradoxically allowing each piece to be individually distinctive. The intrinsic features within such natural products are the reason behind their specification on quality architecture and as Stanton Williams Architects 2012 Stirling Prize winning Sainsbury Laboratory so eloquently demonstrated, modern architecture and 200 million year old natural materials can form a stunning combination in the right hands. As no two pieces are identical this intimate level of detail could not be achieved using man made materials.


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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon - Each piece of Clipsham Limestone Ashlar was hand cut and individually referenced for its exact place in the building


Moving up to the middle band, the limestone is used in a very different but arguably even more dramatic form. The 4 metre high course of limestone consists of approximately 36,000 individual 250 x 110 x 90mm 'bricks'. These have been laid in dogtooth alignment with absolute precision in both the vertical and diagonal planes to create a visually stunning basket weave effect. The original plan was to produce the basket weave effect in timber prior to English Heritage insisting that the building facade should be entirely of stone, the architects have however accomplished the mandate with aplomb using the revised material. Tim Allen-Booth, Project Architect for Niall McLaughlin Architects felt the change from timber to stone actually enhanced the finished project " We however think in the end that this was fortuitous as it is now a better building for being all in stone."


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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon. - The middle band features thousands of individual blocks all laid in dog-tooth bond


Whilst this incredibly eye-catching effect was very technically challenging in itself, the stone installation by the Vauxhall based stone specialists Szerelmey was further complicated by using a very traditional mortar mix. The architects rightly specified Lime Mortar for its ability to allow micro movement. The high levels of precision required for the dogtooth profile obviously takes longer than a more straightforward bond and the mortar can neither get too hot or too wet during construction. In order to avoid any potential failure of the mixture the Szerelmey teams needed to continually cover and protect the mortar during the whole process.

The final tier is again another triumph. A series of ribbon windows  described as "a halo of natural stone fins" adorn the upper level whose height corresponds with the surrounding tree canopies. The window design and position allows dappled light to enter the windows forming a natural brise soliel and casting  dancing shadows upon the light coloured stone. The slender window surrounds  are formed by steel framing clad with Clipsham Natural Limestone sills, fins and copings designed and installed by Szerelmey. 


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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon - All the window components were hand cut by the Stamford Stone Company


Steve Dite, Contracts Director at Szerelmey went on to confirm their technical input  " Szerelmey worked very closely with the Architects on the design of this very complex construction, individually templating all the elliptical stones to ensure the desired accuracy was achieved.  The design of all stainless steels fixings and complex supports for all the protrusions was also carried out by Szerelmey"


The partnership and technical planning between the main contractor- Beard Construction, Specialist Stone Contractor- Szerelmey Ltd and The Stamford Stone Company enabled all parties to be very well prepared so that all of the materials were scheduled  well ahead of the build programme. This resulted in sufficient scope for the precision cutting, almost all by hand, by the skilled quarry stone masons to reach the very high standards required by all concerned. The consequences of such forward planning meant the finished materials being assembled at Stamford Stone's Peterborough works on pallets sometimes weeks in advance ready to be called off by Szerelmey. Such foresight needs to be commended as the arrangement resulted in no  material related delays on site but also meant that any complications or alterations on site could be dealt with straight away. Having a team of skilled artisans installing the stonework also enabled any minor alterations to be made on site but  as Steve Green, Works Manager of Stamford Stone revealed "Because of the forward planning our quarry team were so far ahead of the game that any replacements or alterations could be made and delivered to site almost instantly."


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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College Cuddesdon - Dogtooth Blockwork


Martin Wareham of Beard Constructon added "The stonework is absolutely superb, the dedication by the guys on site in all weathers was fantastic, just taking their time and making sure it was done right, the overall finished article is superb. The precision on the dog tooth with the accuracy in the vertical, horizontal and diagonal planes is fantastic. That level of craftsmanship would be very challenging on a flat plane so it is all the more impressive within a continually  curving wall."

Perhaps most importantly the clients are delighted with the finished project

Sophie Farrant, Development Director of Ripon College said " The beauty of the building's exterior comes from the use of a single  material, natural stone, laid in a unique and complex way in three contrasting levels requiring exact precision in its construction"

The Bishop Edward King Chapel was deemed architecturally proficient enough to make the 2013 Stirling Prize shortlist of 6 projects. A recent press release by RIBA, (Royal Institute of British Architects) commented on their selection for the last six. "Exquisite detailing abounds in all six projects, perhaps most potently in the Bishop Edward King Chapel in Oxfordshire whose rich stone façade and timber interior provide some of the best examples of craftsmanship the judges have seen for some time."

We will leave the last words on the stonework to Steve Green of Stamford Stone Company " We are very proud of our whole team at Stamford Stone in not only being very effective as a supply chain but also in producing such a high level of precision without resorting to computer generated robots. The unique charm of this building is in its natural products and the use of Natural Stone but the fact that every piece has been individually fashioned here at our quarry is very satisfying. In fact many of the college's original buildings from 150 years ago would have been produced in a very similar fashion and that is one reason why this building will blend in with its surroundings and still look as good, perhaps even better,

long after we have gone."


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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon.


It is fair to say that even the most hardened construction professionals involved in the chapel construction have been touched by their connection with this project and whilst ecclesiastical new- builds are not common occurrences this one in particular has left a resonance beyond the obvious.

The college principal, Revd Canon Prof. Martyn Percy said " The new Bishop Edward King Chapel sits at the heart of our worshipping community. It is not just a beautiful building but a work of art which touches the spirit and captures our hope for the church and the world and for the shaping of religious and spiritual life. We are delighted to not only have a building which serves the needs of the college but is also a stunning piece of architecture."


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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon - The interior is very simple but stunning


The building's interior is equally stunning with its simplistic style of light coloured Glulam timber which delicate filigree form seems to replicate the intricacy of the nearby tree crowns and canopies, whilst still fulfilling their ecclesiastical design mandate. The interior is so simple that there remains nothing inside to distract you other than perhaps the jaw-dropping workmanship.  Peter Hogg  of Cowley Timber explained the sheer amount of work involved with the stained Glulam Timber " The multi-way connections were the primary challenge given only that each of the 4No incoming rafter members had 60mm of timber thickness in which to fit and site assemble the jointing of the components added to which were pre-machined grooves and coordination for lighting cables and services.


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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon - Glulam Timber by Cowley Timber



Geometry was another complication with the very 3 dimensional structural form and the amount of components required to interface within the space. Connections were conceived using ‘Glued in Rod technology’ providing efficient and accurate interfaces with precision made connecting brackets. The machining of the timber was only possible with such accuracy due to our 5 axis CNC Router machine used for profiling the glulam timber sections and forming the joints. Other timber connections were formed without steelwork taking advantage of finger-jointing technology. An experienced and diligent workshop and office team were essential in collaborating to ensure it all came together"



Geometry was managed by close file sharing allowing all of the design team to manage and monitor progress and interfaces throughout the design process including mock-ups and workshop meetings with proactive interest and visits to our workshops from the design team all the way up to the client . Installation issues were mitigated by the off-site manufacturing accuracies required and the ability to trial assemble elements of the structure within our workshop. Over 4000 man hours of production off-site in both the expressed internal frame and the inverted concealed timber panellised roof.



There are 86 Portal frames in 22 differing patterns, 56 Rafters in 14 differing patterns,86 portal/rafter intersection connections in 22 differing patterns and 26 portal/perimeter intersection connections in 7 different patterns. This gives an approximate total of 26 cubic metres of Glulam timber taking over 10 weeks to install on site.


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Bishop Edward King Chapel, Ripon College, Cuddesdon - The interior is stunning in its simplicity


Martin Wareham added "Beard Construction and all of the contractors involved have had to jump through a lot of hoops to construct this building especially the stone masons at the quarry and on site. I know RIBA recognise the architects but  I would like to see everyone recognised for their fantastic efforts on this building. The building itself does create a lasting impression on everyone working on it or indeed visiting. Whether you are religious or not we all found it very moving, it is an awe inspiring space. We have worked with many buildings which may not stand out in the memory but this one will stay with you forever. We knew from the architects at the start that this project was going to be 'a bit special'.


Ripon College Cuddesdon has around 150 students training for ordained ministry in the Anglican Church and a growing number preparing for Reader, Pioneer and a variety of lay ministries.  It is the largest provider of ordination training in the UK, and has trained a third of current Bishops, Deans and Archdeacons in the Church of England.


The new chapel has already raised the college's profile and I am sure will go on to influence the chosen destination for ecclesiastical students for many years to come. For such a modest sized building it has made a huge impression on everyone involved in its construction.

For those architects who are reluctant to use Natural Stone it has again showed what a flexible and sustainable medium it can be in the right hands. Whilst we all have to embrace the modern technology in today's construction industry these methods can co-exist with good old fashioned craftsmanship. Hi tech stone cutting technology reduces waste and recycles water so that nothing is wasted but the highly skilled artisans are only custodians and these talents need to be passed on to the next generation. The Bishop Edward King Chapel bears testament to the incredible levels of specialist expertise that remain in the UK construction industry. Perhaps what is more important is that when many of the steel and glass structures have come and gone this will still remain as a showcase not only for 21st century construction and design but also the alliance between technology and craftsmanship.


All images ©Front Elevation -


For more information on this project try these links

Beard Construction -

Niall McLaughlin Architects -

Szerelmey Ltd -

Harrison Goldman -

Cowley Timber -

Ripon College -

Front Elevation -


All text and images copyright of Front Elevation











TAG Farnborough Airport - Passenger Terminal

Ready for take-off




As part of our remit for our client MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC, Front Elevation are re-visiting some of their past portfolio to carry out retrospective Case Studies. Having completed the TAG Farnborough Control Tower featuring cladding and glazing designed and installed by MERO-SCHMIDLIN we have now finalised the Passenger Terminal.


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TAG Farnborough Airport Passenger Terminal - The very innovative TAG Farnborough Airport Passenger Terminal designed by 3D Reid Architects and with Mill Finish Aluminium Cladding and Glazing by MERO-SCHMIDLIN


The transition in turning a former MOD airbase into an airport was always going to be a challenge however when the intended project is for one of Europe's leading brands and the clientele will be exclusively business aviation, it layered another dimension on to an already challenging brief. This doesn't take into account that the TAG Farnborough Airport was already up and running during construction, making the build slightly more complicated.

The lack of facilities in the existing Control Tower had made that buildings replacement an absolute priority in the whole transition as it wasn't able to cope with the increased level of incoming and outgoing flights. The programme involved the construction of a 'family' of Three buildings resulting in the Control Tower being constructed first followed by Hangars and the Passenger Terminal.


TAG Farnborough Airport RS2 By Front Elevation

TAG Farnborough Airport - Control Tower. Designed by 3D Reid Architects with Mill Finish Aluminium Cladding & Glazing by MERO-SCHMIDLIN -This was the first project on site and very much a blueprint for the Passenger Terminal

Image by Paul Scott -


TAG, Techniques d'Avant-Garde to give them the full title are a private Luxemburg based conglomerate who in addition to their Moet Hennessy and Louis Vuitton brands, own private aviation fleets and are well known for producing TAG-Heuer precision time-pieces and of course their association with Formula One Motor Racing sponsoring the McLaren team. The branding surrounding the client was all-important with regards to the design of the buildings as not only does TAG stand for precision and leading edge design, they are looking to attract the elite of the business aviation market to Farnborough.


The order in which the buildings were constructed had a range of benefits to the passenger terminal with regards to product specification and build programme. The architects, 3D Reid, were given the task of designing the whole family of buildings to represent the precision and quality design ethos of the TAG brand, starting with the first priority, the Control Tower. As such the tower was a blueprint with respect to speed of build, aesthetics and of course cost. The tower design had arrived via a rather unconventional route as various high speed and hi-tech options had been considered including the prestige boat building manufacturers. Given the aviation theme the brief was to have the building envelope covered with a smooth, seamless, skin. This proved incredibly problematic but when bringing MERO-SCHMIDLIN onboard a design was worked up to achieve the brief with regards to looks, build programme, robustness and of course cost. Having arrived at a cladding design template that had worked on the control tower it made sense to attempt to replicate this with the Passenger Terminal and the client agreed.


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TAG Farnborough Airport Passenger Terminal - The design involved a very lightweight wing shaped upper body which appears to float above the ground as much of the ground level is glazed at the aircraft apron elevation. The whole building apparently weighs around 350 tonnes which is less than a Boeing 747 ready for take off.


The innovative design for the Passenger Terminal consisted of a relatively simple steel frame consisting of primary steelwork in a hoop format supporting purlins on which the diamond shaped shingles could be fitted directly. The use of individual mill finish aluminium shingles gave the smooth seamless look, from a distance, but also offered a very practical robust material choice which was quick to fit and very adaptable for achieving the aerodynamic profiles required. The use of individual elements proved cost effective in installation but also allows each piece to be replaced if damaged.

Any problems with regards to design and installation had been overcome at design stage with MERO-SCHMIDLIN's expertise in bespoke building envelope manufacturing and installation. With their experienced design teams in the UK and mainland Europe, bespoke building projects of this stature are almost run of the mill. Having ironed out any potential problems at design stage and having used the Control Tower as a prototype it was obvious to everyone involved that the Passenger Terminal should follow suit with regards to contractor team and product specification.

The terminal design had been conceived as a 'wing' appearing to hover over the landscape and cranked in the middle to maximise visibility over the flight apron. The architects rather modestly described it as "a simple box bent in the middle". It is however far more sculptural and dynamic in its aviational form curved in both planes. As with the Control Tower the use of the shingles, 25,000 in all, has allowed the curves and sweeps of the architects design to be exactly replicated on the building without compromise. The extensive use of bespoke frameless glazing at ground level does indeed achieve the illusion that the aluminium clad upper body of the building does levitate and whilst at close quarters the detail of the individual shingles is apparent, as with the control tower, from a distance the form appears completely smooth.


TAG Farnborough Airport RS6 by Front Elevation

TAG Farnborough Airport Passenger Terminal - From the apron the architects have achieved the wing profile and indeed from a distance the building does seem to levitate. The 25,000 Mill Finish Aluminium Shingles and Frameless Glazing was designed and installed by MERO-SCHMIDLIN.Image by Paul Scott


In addition to being a stunning piece of architecture winning plaudits all over the world, it is a very practical building in every sense. From the cladding which is 100% recyclable, low maintenance, easily repaired and copes with the curvature and building tolerances to the interior space, everything is incredibly functional. From the triple height reception area to the public cafe, the building is light and airy offering a very relaxing environment to the thousands of passengers about to depart to various glamorous destinations in their executive jets. The passenger lounges are complimented by very comfortable meeting facilities allowing business meeting to take place prior to the participants jetting back to their offices. The ends of the wing are left 'open' giving the opportunity for glazed areas letting light flood into the building. The open ends have been very cleverly clad to produce a very distinctive architectural feature which like the rest of the building is completely functional. At one end the offices lead out to a first floor covered balcony with the opposite end being developed in a similar fashion for a public area. This end contains a cafe providing a covered terrace on the first floor with the ground floor flowing out onto a paved terrace.


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TAG Farnborough Airport Passenger Terminal - The open ends of the building are very much a feature. In addition to very intricate steelwork, bespoke cladding and glazing they are designed to maximise light into the building and be used for recreational space.


From a construction perspective it is possible to think that because of the client and branding (their Monaco V4 watches sell for around £80,000) that this was 'no expense spared'. It was however a very cost effective set of buildings with regard to materials and build. The client adopted the same level of precision to this project as to their branding and a construction management team was assembled to micro-manage every aspect from H&S to the supply chain. This approach enabled the client very high levels of understanding and control and resulted in a finished project which had all of the benefits of a bespoke construction without the excessive perceived costs of a 'made-to -measure' structure.


TAG Farnborough Airport RS5 by Front Elevation

TAG Farnborough Airport Passenger Terminal - The completed 'Open End' features a Cafe with a covered terrace and very intricate Bespoke Cladding & Glazing by MERO-SCHMIDLIN 

Image by Paul Scott


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TAG Farnborough Airport - As each of the 25,000 Mill Finish Aluminium Shingles needed to be hand fitted, particular attention was given to access and H&S.



Because of the shape of the building, and the fact that the shingles needed to be hand fixed, great attention was paid to access and Health & Safety. It is testament to the whole team and site management that the project was completed without incident or reportable lost days.


Paul Green, Project Architect 3D Reid


MERO-SCHMIDLIN assisted with the facade concept on the control tower to such an extent that the terminal building was almost a continuation therefore presenting very few technical challenges on installation. As with the previous projects the terminal building was achieved within budget and programme.


From 3D Reid Architects perspective the Farnborough project has been a blueprint foe aviation buildings. So much so that we now have an aviation division with projects literally all over the world. When showing prospective clients our Aviation building portfolio, Farnborough is always the project that attracts their attention.


Paul commented "MERO-SCHMIDLIN are on our tender list and get the opportunity to quote for any project we feel that requires their specialist bespoke facade ability. As architects it is always reassuring to know there are companies such as MSUK who have the technical ability to assist architects like 3D Reid so our architectural vision can be realised without compromise."




3D Reid Architects -


Front Elevation -






TAG Farnborough Airport - Air Traffic Control Tower by MERO-SCHMIDLIN

TAG Farnborough Airport Control Tower still looking fantastic

Front Elevation are putting together some retrospective Case Studies  for our client, MERO-SCHMIDLIN. This is a project completed a few years ago but the images were taken in Aug 2013 so  these show how good it still looks.


Farnborough control tower 03 RS


The Air Traffic Control Tower at TAG Farnborough Airport was designed by 3D Reid Architects and features aluminium cladding by MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC

(Photograph by Paul Scott - Front Elevation


Farnborough Airport has a long standing affiliation with the aviation industry firstly as a military installation as far back as 1904 for the army's military balloon establishment and later for construction of airplanes for the First World War. Many of the Hurricanes, Spitfires and Lancaster bombers had their trial flights from here and much later the facilities were instrumental in development work for laser guided bombs and our most iconic of aircraft, Concorde.


In later years military flying was transferred to larger sites around the UK and Farnborough became surplus to requirements with the site was leased out for private aviation. In 1999 the Luxembourg based company TAG (Techniques d'Avant-Garde) leased the site to compliment its existing businesses which include their own airline and partnering McLaren sports and racing cars. TAG Farnborough is now the UK's finest dedicated business airport.


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The Control tower Features Mill Finish Aluminium shingles which follow the flow of the building by varying the size and overlap

(Photograph by Paul Scott Front Elevation


The brief from the client to Buro Happold, the planning consultant and 3D Reid Architects was to produce a series of buildings which would reflect both TAG's image as a first class business aviation provider and their corporate clients aspirations, whilst also sitting comfortably within the local landscape.


The tower itself epitomises these aspirations on many levels in its sleek design and choice of natural materials. The building was the first to be constructed of a 'family' of three to later include hangars and a terminal building all designed by 3D Reid Architects. As such the tower was a prototype which would heavily influence both the procurement and design of the projects to follow. The 34m high control tower has a visual control room at the top and at base level includes a two storey building to accommodate plant, equipment, conference areas and offices for air traffic control staff.


Farnborough Control Tower 10 RS


The Tower features a glazed lift shaft at the front with a matching glazed stairwell at the rear, all designed, supplied and installed by MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC the Camberley based Bespoke Envelope Contractors.


MERO-SCHMIDLIN were engaged at very early stages to assist in the design of the tower which consists of a series of various radii horizontal steel rings fitted to the slip-form concrete tower core. The design required a range of highly complex design calculations by MERO-SCHMIDLIN as part of their design, supply and installation package for the tower structure and cladding. The primary structure supported a further galvalume sub-frame covered with waterproofing membrane beneath the cladding . The 24 tonnes of steelwork is covered with individual mill finish aluminium shingles which are varying sizes and overlap to accommodate the complex geometry needed to form the futuristic design. The Toroidial shape is primarily formed by cloak cladding fixed to a frame of tubular steel with multiples axes. The mill finish aluminium is 100% recyclable and offers both a robust and cost effective cladding solution. Not only are they stunning to look at as a whole feature but as separate entities they can easily be replaced if damaged. The 0.7mm thick 'falzonal' shingles provide over 500 sq metres of cladding around the tower and base building.


Farnborough Control Tower 19 RS


The 'Cloaks' on either side of the main tower are formed by tubular steel frames clad with matching shingles

(Photograph by Paul Scott - Front Elevation


Inside the building MERO-SCHMIDLIN provided the two access routes with a glazed lift shaft at the front of the building with a glazed stairwell at the rear. These provide dual access to the control tower itself and the observation balcony. The glazing consists of point fixed laminated glass with a screen printed Frit Patterned series of bands. The tower includes approx 170 sq m of both toughened and laminated glass to lift shaft, stairwell and the rooflight within the base building. There is a further 9 sq m of 10mm toughened heat soaked tested float glass within the viewing balcony.


Farnborogh Control Tower 20 RS




The Aluminium Shingles reflect the light, were quick to install and proved very cost effective.

(Photography  by Paul Scott - Front Elevation


The project took over 12 months but proved again how MSUK can rise to the multi faceted challenge in creating a series of complicated Design, Manufacture, Supply & Install packages to create a stunning building that is functional, aesthetically pleasing and which raises the bar in building design. Being the first of three buildings the Control Tower set the benchmark in both design and project management coming in within build programme and budget.


Farnborough Control Tower 25 RS


The Control Tower is a stunning building with the fabric appearing smooth from a distance but the individual shingles become more apparent the closer you get to the building.

(Photography by Paul Scott - Front Elevation


Farnborough Control Tower 36 RS


MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC were engaged at very early stages by the client TAG and 3D Reid due to their specialist expertise in bespoke cladding both as  designers, manufacturers and installers.

(Photography by Paul Scott - Front Elevation


MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC are based in Camberley in Surrey and specialise in Bespoke Envelope Design, Manufacture and Installation which also includes glazing, rainscreen and curtain walling


3D Reid Architects were responsible for the 'Family' of buildings of which this is just one


Front Elevation are Marketing & Business Development Consultants specialising in the construcion sector. Our clients include manufacturers, specialist contractors and architects.

We are based just north of London and offr a fully integrated service from Project Photography, Case Study Preparation, PR & Copy Writing, Graphic Design, Website building, hosting and management. 















Front Elevation client congratulated for multi award winning project in Kings Cross

The Granary Building / Central St Martins College wins more awards.

The Granary / Eastern Goods Yard - Western Transit Shed has been showered with accolades since its award winning design was put together by Stanton Williams in 2008.


The 2013 Civic Trust Award has now been added to the list. MERO-SCHMIDLIN carried out 10 packages including the glazing plus the glazing and cladding of the modern extension seen below.

Central St Martins College Frontelevation

The Granay Building is a renovation of 160 year old train sheds into a contemporary education facility, offices and commercial space.


When Lewis Cubitt built the Granary Building in 1852 I doubt if he ever considered that the building would be winning Architectural & Construction awards some 160 years later. However in the hands of one of the UK's top architects, Stanton Williams,  the original building has been transformed from a Goods Yard behind Kings Cross Station into a fusion of contemporary new build and sympathetic restoration. The site consists of The Granary Building plus The Eastern & Western Transit Sheds. The project has gone on to feature in no less than 16 Construction & Architectural awards over the last 5 years.


Central St Martins Vestibule Frontelevation

The interior has been transformed by multi faceted glazing, designed and installed by MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC


With their portfolio of similar projects in the UK and across Europe MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC were the ideal candidate for the design and installation of the more contemporary Glass, Roofing and Facade features. As with this type of restoration 'Bespoke' is a key facility as the modern interior and exterior elements of this project need to seamlessly blend in with the idiosyncrasies of a 160 year old brick building. As with any project of this magnitude the specialist design element offered by Mero Schmidlin can never be  engaged too early in proceedings. The MS design team were able to develop workable details from the early design sketches to fully represent the architects design intent. With their very impressive portfolio and the specialist experience as installers as well as manufacturers, Mero-Schmidlin were able to integrate buildability and value engineering enabling significant cost savings from day one.


Central St Martin Roof Light frontelevation

Bespoke Glazing Units by MERO-SCHMIDLIN in the complex and roof have completely transformed the building


The building now contains the primary campus for the Central St Martins College of Arts and Design plus retail, leisure, office and public spaces. Because of the complexity of redeveloping such a vast space the Glazing Element alone was split into 10 separate packages. These elements involved a huge range of materials from different manufacturers posing a tremendous challenge to both the design and procurement teams at Mero-Schmidlin but proved a testament to their versatility and site management.


Central St Martins link frontelevation

Internal Glass Balustrades and Partitions give a light airy atmospere


The Grade Two listed building was transformed with a glazed rooflight and lightwell whch runs down the spine of the building along with a series of slot windows to the south facade with glazed screens and doors within the first floor reception area. The Granary building is linked to the Eastern and Western Transit Sheds by a 20 metre high complex with glazed units in abundance together with a series of glass and steel facades reaching up to the third storey. These features are all the more pleasing on the eye due to the intricate attention to detail by Mero-Schmidlin who as installers as well as manufacturers had designed and implemented a series of fixings and hanging arrangements to enable these materials to be 'invisibly fixed'.


Central S Martin North End Frontelevation

The interior features high level glazing, 160 year old brickwork plus a few internal trees for good measure


Having passed through the 'Link' building you are greeted with another vast and open space. The main central area is 80 metres in length and also towers to 20 metres in height. This 'Street' has glazing running along both sides on all five levels with a mixture of ribbon windows and full height glass. The northern end of the central link cantilevers outside of the main building envelope and is clad with the Pilkington Profilit System forming a continuous glazed facade. The far end of the Eastern Transit Shed is dominated by two arches which were the entry points for the goods trains and are now glazed with curved RSA frames within the existing reveals. These were engineered using curved sheet steel and are replicated with 12 further units running horizontally along the eastern sheds side elevation.


Central St Martins Hall Frontelevation

The Internal Space emphasises the buildings height but offers very clean lines throughout


It is a fine example of Mero-Schmidlin's versatility when you view the facade of the building where you will see to your extreme left, the West granary office Extension. This houses a  Cafe/Bar plus offices of the site owners and the very modern extension remains sympathetic to the traditions of the restoration. Mero-Schmidlin clad the two storey building in mild steel which has allowed to weather giving the now fashionable rusted appearance. The contemporary  structure is further enhanced by a mixture of steel clad panels and glazed units providing a unique and very distinctive commercial space. Further packages involved the bespoke glazing of arches, glazed screens and fully glazed opening doors for the other occupiers within the building complex.


Central St Martins Exterior Frontelevation

 The Glazing Theme carries on with glass cladding and glazed roof


The project was incredibly complex involving a huge and diverse range of glazing and cladding products from all over Europe which had to be carefully 'site-managed' and the packages totalled almost £12m for Mero-Schmidlin across the whole complex. As much of the acclaim has been for its design and aesthetics, Mero-Schmidlin can be fully justified in feeling very proud of the fantastic response that this project has received from all sectors of the construction industry both in the UK and further afield.


Central St Martins Roof Frontelevation

Here we can see the very compplex glass roof and full height glazed area with various building project taking place at Kings Cross in the background


The Awards List for The Granary / Central St Martins College of Art and Design


2013 Civic Trust Award
2013 Nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award
2012 Concrete Society Award, Overall winner
2012 RIBA Award
2012 AJ100 Building of the Year
2012 BCI Award, Major Building Project of the Year
2012 New London Award, Education Category
2012 World Architecture Festival Award, World’s Best Higher Education and Research Building
2012 RICS Award, Regeneration 
2012 Public Building of the Year, Building Awards
2012 AIA UK Award for Design Excellence
2012 Mayor’s Award for Planning Excellence
2012 World Architecture News Education Award
2012 AIT Award Top Ten Education Selection
2012 LABC National Building Excellence Awards, Best Education Development
2008 Commended, MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards


Central St Martins Hall2 Frontelevation

The MERO-SCHMIDLIN packages for BAM Construction totalled almost £12m


For More information on this project see:




Stanton Williams Architects website


Project Photography by Paul Scott of Front Elevation











Raised Access Flooring at Trowbridge County Hall

MERO-SCHMIDLIN provide a level playing field at award winning County Hall project

Front Elevation client MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC played a very significant part in providing the design and installation expertise for a very challenging project in Trowbridge for Wiltshire County Council




The Mero Combi T Raised Access Flooring System was used to convert a multi level exterior courtyard into a level internal atrium.


Mero- Schmidlin worked alongside the Architects Stride Treglown and Main Contractors Kier Western on the £18m project.


The new space is part of a major construction project to consolidate the counties workforce in one cost effective facility built around the existing County Hall facility. The project has been programmed within two specific phases allowing the local authority to transfer staff from older uneconomical facilities into this more modern complex which will be far more flexible in addition to offering a more cost effective building model. The facility started with a very challenging brief for Stride Tregown centred around sustainability, running costs and hitting a minimum BREEAM standard of Very Good. Kier are in fact on target to achieve an excellent rating by the conclusion of Phase 

The existing exterior site consisted of paving at various differing levels which was to be transformed into a level courtyard in which all of the building services of the surrounding structures would be linked. The 'Plenum' beneath the flooring not only housed all of the major building control services but also needed to be airtight so as not to interfere with the air conditioned and naturally vented areas within the new courtyard.


trowbridge combi t with domus 133 Red


This image shows the complexity of the Mero Combi T system used to create a level floor which also acted as a plenum for the buildings ventilation


The height of the 'new' floor required a void in some areas of up to 900mm. this was to allow access to the plant and equipments as well as achieving a 'common level' within the new facility.With 1100 square metres of hollow flooring there were numerous requirements for precision cutting to allow for regular inspection access and air diffuser vents. With a large floor area within a E.T.FE. canopied building there were complex calculations within the design process to allow for expansion bearing in mind the differing temperatures between the above and below floor areas. Expansion movement joints were needed to be integrated within the raised flooring without spoiling the aesthetics of the overall surface.


trowbridge combi t with domus 106 Red


Due to the Solar Gain from the ETFE Roofing System is was identified that expansion and contraction of the flooring system would be far greater than the norm. MERO-SCHMIDLIN took this into account at design stage and supported joints with steel channel. These supports were imperative as the flooring also needed to be airtight.


Mero-Schmidlin are very experienced at this process as the floors within modern building projects are continually required to be accessed throughout the build programme. The latest technology in bonding materials is used to provide a significant level of factory finishing thus avoiding 'wet trades' on site so that areas were almost immediately accessible rather than waiting for compounds to cure or dry. A series of Mero Combi T36 Calcium Sulphate interlocking backing panels were employed together with factory fitted Porcelain Tiles which covered the whole floor area. With heavy plant and continuous high level construction taking place, it was imperative that a thorough protection system was put in place not only on the finished flooring but also for the 'listed' stone facade of the existing building.   


New Court Test Rig Two Red



 This is a picture of the Mero Combi T system being tested. It is quite usual for their Raised Access Flooring Systems to be subjected to these types of loads. Building programmes are now so tight that the flooring is used within hours of its installation. In almost all cases the buildings construction takes place simmultaneously with the flooring system. With Trowbridge the roof was being installed at the same time as the flooring. This required immediate 'put into use' status and the area was used for a variety of very heavy powered access systems.This image is of the MERO-SCHMIDLIN Combi T System being used at New Court, The Rothschilds Bank HQ. The system is identical to the system used at Trowbridge. However the below floor access void at Trowbridge was in excess of 800mm in places (Image courtesy of Szerelmey Ltd)


Greg Brock, Project Surveyor for Kier Western was very complimentary of Mero-Schmidlin within both the pre-contract process and their work on site. Their Can-Do attitude was very influential in the procurement process. whilst they had to offer a very competitive bid within the tender process, Mero-Schmidin provided a tour of several projects in the South East where they had completed similarly complex Raised Access Flooring Systems which were acclaimed by contractor and client alike. These personal inspections of completed projects were complimented by numerous written references to the quality of Mero-Schmidlin's work and problem solving, these instilled great confidence with both the contractor and the client that Kier were selecting the best partner for a project of this stature and complexity. 



"Mero-Schmidlin did tick all of the boxes. They were very easy to work with in terms of their Can-Do attitude and their approachability and were also competitively priced" Greg Brock, Kier Western



Trow 25 Red


The MERO Combi T Raised Access Flooring was being used as part of the projects ventilation system. By establishing a plenum the MERO-SCHMIDLIN installatin team had to precision cut ventilation holes and install grilles throughout the complete floor area. (Photograph by Paul Scott


Greg Brock went on to say


"As part of our Pre-Tender negotiations we received a number of references from contractors saying that Mero-Schmidlin were very pro-active on site and had a can-do attitude when dealing with any problems. We knew in advance that there was going to be 'issues' with the flooring and that it wasn't going to be a straightforward install. Their project managers worked with us on all of the issues on site and came up with the solutions."


" We have now moved on to Phase Two of the project and will certainly be considering using Mero-Schmidlin for this element of works, and again on future projects" Kier Western 15/3/2013


Trow 26 Red



The Raised Access Flooring was a prominent feature of the project not only aesthetically but also in providing the ventilation to combat the Solar Gain from the ETFE Roofing System. (image Paul Scott Front Elevation


Mark Butt of Wiltshire County Council said


"Having discussed the project in detail with the client, the architects and the main contractors it quickly became apparent that the flooring  requirement on this project was envisaged as "potentially problematical" but also that it formed a very significant contribution to the success of the whole £23m project. All parties were obviously concerned as to selecting a contractor and flooring system which could meet the challenge. Mero-Schmidlin were able to satisfy the concerns with a very impressive back catalogue of prestigious raised access flooring projects including the Rothschilds Bank HQ at New Court and personal visits to the recently completed £134m Land Securities, Park House project in the heart of Oxford Street."



Architects - Stride Treglown


Main Contractors - Kier (Western)


Raised Access Flooring Contractors

Mero-Schmidlin (UK) PLC


Front Elevation 











Coventry University Engineering & Computing Building

MERO-SCHMIDLIN offer unique facade at Coventry University


“ Mero-Schmidlin UK have helped greatly to achieve a project that is both dynamic and apparently effortless, this is a hallmark of good design and coordination” Sean Macintosh, Arup Associates




Cov Uni One Red


The Bespoke Annodised Aluminium Envelope designed, manufactured and installed by MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC.


Client - Coventry University

Architects - Arup Associates

Approx Value - £55m

Total Floor Area - 14,000 sq m

The new faculty includes Laboratories, Offices, Teaching Spaces, Lecture Theatres, Breakout Spaces, Conference Room, Cafe, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team designed Wind Tunnel, a Harrier Jump Jet Aircraft and Three Flight Simulators. 


The Building has been designed for the "21st Century graduate"


Cov Uni Two



The Hi-Tch facade is very intricate with hardly any 'uprights'



Design and construct an innovative 'Flagship' building to BREEAM excellent status which will be used to educate the designers and engineers of tomorrow, whilst also being a tangible template for top quality construction design & engineering.

Quite a challenge for Arup Associates Architects but help was at hand. 


The design brief from the client was very demanding, to create a top quality multi-functional facility to house lecture theatres, workshops, classrooms and combined social learning areas built to the highest possible sustainability standards achieving BREEAM Excellent rating. The fundamental principal was that not only does it need to be a building the students will learn in, but also learn from. Here was a blank canvas which should allow the engineers of tomorrow the freedom to explore and interact with the building as to, use of space, environmental control, sustainability and selection of materials. The building needs to inspire and motivate the students but also with its naturally ventilated 'didactic' skin, become a living breathing (literally) showcase for building materials and their implementation. The new faculty will also house a £2.6m ERDF sponsored centre supporting the development of sustainable construction technologies


Cov Uni Three Red


 This shows the level of design and installation of the completely bespoke outer skin.


One of the main challenges was to mix these materials, design and best practise in installation without the building resembling a metaphorical patchwork quilt. This has been achieved externally by the use of natural anodised rain screen cladding for its highly durable quality and aesthetics. The design concept was intended to push the boundaries of both materials and installation. The cladding was required to interact with the window hoods and brise soleil in addition to housing the opening windows, which form part of the mixed mode natural ventilation strategy for teaching areas and combined social - learning spaces


Cov Uni Red Five



The adjoining glass fronted building was also designed, supplied and installed by MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC and forms a bridge between the existing building and the new structure.


One of the BREEAM prerequisites was not only the use of natural materials but also that they should be sustainably sourced. This resulted in a requirement for a complex mixture of engineered timber mullions and transoms which tend to be a more common component in mainland Europe than they are currently in the UK. A specialist organisation, Mero-Schmidlin (UK) PLC, the Camberley based Bespoke Facade Contractors were called upon to offer their design capability and bespoke engineered building envelope system. The facade was not only complicated because of its geometry but also included the utilising of a multi zoned drainage system and interior engineered timber panels. MSUK’s design team were able to call upon the considerable combined Mero Group expertise in both Germany & Switzerland working with the project architect, Sean Macintosh of Arup Associates, to offer a redesign of the radical façade structure whilst maintaining the desired abstract geometric appearance. The internal support system was revised to simplify the framing and some of the aluminium extrusion mullions were changed to steel by the design team to meet fire requirements. The reassurance of working with the Mero design team, whose portfolio includes the Scottish Parliament Building, Heathrow Terminal Three and similar projects at Dublin City University and Chessington Community College, was appreciated by all parties. The systems and components have been continually developed in Germany and Switzerland since the 1930’s and are used by all of the Mero network of production facilities stretching from mainland Europe to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.


Joomla 4



This image shows the steel frame and timber panelling which forms the basic structure.

Whilst the first port of call for most architects are of course manufacturers, the added benefit of a Bespoke System Design capability from experienced contractors was paramount in achieving a design that met the aesthetic aspirations of the client and architects in addition to being a value engineered solution in its installation. The high performance façade achieved as a result of the redesign was central to achieving the required BREEAM status as well as meeting the sound absorption requirements by use of integrated acoustic insulation and  perforated engineered timber panels internally.


Cov Uni 7 Red


The Glazing Design & Installation was made very complex by the intricate design. The units were designed by MERO TSK and MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC combining their expertise in Switzerland and the UK.



Producing a building which is to be a benchmark for Design & Engineering has to be founded on correct principals and this was certainly a great example. Arup Associates worked with 3D modelling, samples, mock ups and extensive material testing to make sure all materials and installation practises met the very highest standards.


Cov Uni Eight Red



The leading edge of the building arrives bow-like as you enter the courtyard


With any other manufacturer or contractor the façade package alone would have been a very worthwhile contribution but MSUK’s other division were on the proverbial sub’s bench awaiting their opportunity. The Raised Access Flooring division headed by Neil Burrows were called up to deal with the internal undulations within the site to continue the design and sustainability brief.


Cov Uni Nine Red



MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC Raised Acccess Flooring Division headed up by Neil Burrows designed and installed the raised access floor system. This is unique in as much as it features its own bespoke wet system underloor heating


The complicated geometrics are not just limited to the outside of the building. The flooring is required to coordinate with the sloping facades requiring multiple levels throughout the faculty. This is of course an everyday challenge to a raised access flooring manufacturer and installer. 


Cov Uni Ten Red



One of Two lecture theatres consisting of MERO-SCHMIDLIN Combi T Raised Access Flooring


As with the façade, the combination of manufacturing and installation experience offered a great deal of technical input in both the design and fitting of the materials plus advice on their selection. In order to meet, and exceed, the very stringent requirements of the BREEAM excellent rating there was a multitude of additional demands over and above any ‘normal’ flooring installation. The Raised Access Flooring systems were required to incorporate integral under floor heating, using MSUK's calcium sulphate hollow floor system in communal areas, plus the addition of air plenums for the passive environmental controls. In some areas of the faculty the actual flooring area was raised by as much as 500mm to allow for all of the building service functions and the raised floors panels have been adapted to suit various floor coverings including ceramic and carpet tiles plus beech veneer, some of which were factory applied for programme efficiency. 


Cov Uni Twelve Red



The smaller Auditorium again features MERO-SCHMIDLIN Combi T Raised Access floor system to form the steps


On the sustainability issue required to meet the BREEAM scoring system, re-used ceramic tiles were incorporated with tiles manufactured from recycled porcelain along with the multitude of other surfaces fitted on to the raised backing panels. As part of the package award criteria MSUK were required to recover over 3,000 square metres of pre-used backing panels from a refurbishment project in London that might otherwise have gone into landfill. A great working example of building material reuse in action!



 In addition to under floor heating and recycled material there was an enormous amount of precision required from the MSUK installation team. The interaction involved with other trades in addition to coordinating and protecting accessible areas is always a huge challenge on any building site. The most testing element was still to come, the construction of two auditoriums was to have very precise stepped levels involving meticulous setting out and installation. The whole area was to be constructed from MSUK's raised flooring system components  to provide a stable platform for the tiered seating, whilst also delivering air circulation via slots cut into the fascia.


Auditorrium Red



This image taken on site shows the Auditorium under construction.


Auditorium Red



The Two images clearly demonstrate the work involv in forming the tiers in both auditoriums



Arup Associates have first-hand experience of the enhanced contributions from working directly with specialist contractors and manufacturers who can offer high levels of design and installation expertise. Coventry University’s  Engineering & Computing facility was a great example of such teamwork. As with Ove Arup they are looking to ‘Partner’ organisations who are able to bring significant input to projects of this complexity in the future. 



Sean Macintosh of Arup Associates was very appreciative of the assistance in the design and implementation of the building façade and raised access flooring.


“ Mero-Schmidlin UK have helped greatly to achieve a project that is both dynamic and apparently effortless, this is a hallmark of good design and coordination” Sean Macintosh, Arup Associates



Coventry University          


Arup Associates               


Mero-Schmidlin (UK) PLC    


Photography by Paul Scott 











BBC Broadcasting House

MERO-SCHMIDLIN put on a show for the BBC at Broadcasting House

Front Elevation client, MERO-SCHMIDLIN complete the new extention to BBC iconic Broadcasting House extension in Portland Place


BBC 100 Red



©Paul Scott -

The iconic Broadcasting House building which Art Deco design dates back to 1932  The picture shows the original Broadcasting House building in the foreground with the latter extension in the background.


BBC Portland Place

Portland Place, the BBC radio headquarters has been at the forefront of broadcasting since its construction in 1932. The iconic Art Deco building with its Eric Gill sculptures has become a landmark in its own right being such a prominent construction. As with many such institutions the BBC has had to come into the 21st century and required a building to reflect the digital age without sacrificing the heritage of its origins. The  80,000 sq m Building will now be a fully integrated centre for all broadcasting media bringing TV, Radio and Online activity all within one address eventually housing 5,000 staff.


BBC 13 red


©Paul Scott -


One of the sculptures by Eric Gill which adorn the original 1932 Art Deco Building


As with any public funded body there is always the highwire balancing act between spending large amounts of money, particularly unpopular in a recession, and producing a building that will not be overshadowed by its adjoining predecessor.


This has been achieved, however not without becoming quite a story in itself. The process has been quite controversial with the original architects jettisoned half way through the project due to costing and design issues.





©Paul Scott -


The floating glass facade above the new entrance.


The project undertaken by Lend Lease was in two phases resulting in a building that has performed rather a pincer manoeuvre around the  newly restored existing Art Deco structure but this bookend type arrangement accentuates the transition between the old and new. The horseshoe arrangement formed by the new layout has resulted in a courtyard accessible to the public and a brand new hi-tech reception is now very prominent, consisting of very contemporary glazing which is a feature of the new design concept.


BBC2 Red




©Paul Scott -


This image shows the left leg of the Horseshoe with the old 1930's entrance (Still used) to the Broadcasting House BBC Radio in addition to the new floating glass facade designed, supplied and installed by MERO-SCHMIDLIN (UK) PLC


The first stage of the redevelopment has seen the new Egton Wing building constructed opposite the Old Broadcasting House. The two Portland stone buildings incorporate a bespoke glazed twin skin curtain wall system by MERO- SCHMIDLIN that floats in front of the facades and loops around and connects the two buildings together. Portland Stone has been especially sourced to match the existing building but with today’s advanced computer aided cutting methods it has been used as both a cladding / rainscreen material as well as semi structural. The ultra thin engineered stone has been incorporated into the ‘floating’ Stainless Steel & Glass facades designed and installed by MERO-SCHMIDLIN. The glazing features a combination of screen printed and acid etched glass which have been installed using a range bespoke designed fixing methods and materials more commonly used on mainland Europe.


BBC 18 Red



©Paul Scott -


The image shows the floating facade which consists of stainless steel supports, etched and screen printed glass and precision cut Portland Stone, to match the existing structure

Constructed from flat stainless steel sandwich sections, the outer skin meets the architectural intent of square, straight lines, and flush connections, and is suspended just over a metre from the inner façade. Fixed to this structure is a mixture of clear and opaque point fixed glass panes with flush silicone joints that aims to replicate the visual appearance of the Portland stone. The inner skin is constructed from a modified Schűco curtain walling system with laminated double glazed units for security enhancement, whilst in certain locations a maintenance walkway passes between the two skins. With glazing featuring so prominently throughout the whole facade particular attention has been paid to the solar gain concerns and these have been fully addressed by MERO-SCHMIDLIN by the use of solar control coatings.


BBC 6 Red




©Paul Scott -


The cantilever glass canopies feature throughout the horseshoe profile and the glass has been acid etched and screen printed to avoid solar gain within the building. The facade has a walway in between the outer glass and inner building for maintenance and building control systems.



The original design for the building was put together by McComack, Jamieson Pritchard (MJP) Architects who were replaced just after the start of Phase Two by Sheppard Robson.


Inside the building, MERO provided full height glazed screens at almost 4m high to the restored art deco reception area. These screens featured virtually no visible supporting steelwork, and bronze pattinated brackets and fixings where visible. To the lower levels of the facades, MERO provided three glazed stainless steel canopies. These canopies cantilever out from the Portland stone clad walls, supporting laminated glazing panels that are point fixed from above. These canopies were fabricated in one piece off site and lifted into position, to provide minimal disruption to the busy site. MERO-SCHMIDLIN also designed, supplied and installed glass revolving doors and opening doors within the main reception which were further complimented by laminated glass screens.


BBC8 Red



©Paul Scott -


Portland Stone has been used throughout to replicate the original building



The project has of course been very complex as demolition, piling and construction has taken place whilst the existing building remained fully functional. The MERO-SCHMIDLIN teams had to overcome multiple challenges in both design and installation to design and manufacture a diverse range of fully bespoke products using their very experienced UK and European design technicians. The ability to offer both offsite and onsite construction facilities was paramount in assisting Lend Lease and both architectural practices to achieve such a stunning building project. By its very nature this building is a Global concept that will become highly visible to all parts of the world and represents an outstanding construction representing MERO-SCHMIDLIN’s European heritage and accentuates their status as a very contemporary bespoke manufacturer and contractor partner. MERO-SCHMIDLIN continue to be selected to partner the UK’s leading architects in achieving building facades of such ingenuity and complexity and the BBC Building has now been added to their prestigious portfolio of UK construction projects.


BBC 7 Red




©Paul Scott -


A further Glass Facade features on the link building which joins both projects together.



Materials & Specification




830m² Double Glazed inner skin curtain walling, consisting of seven different glazing build ups with a mixture of ceramic frit and solar control coatings.


905m² Single glazed laminated point fixed outer skin façade glazing comprising two different glazing build ups with a mixture of acid etch and screen print finishes.


110m² Single glazed laminated point fixed canopy glazing comprising two different glazing build ups with ceramic frit and acid etch finishes.


50m² Single glazed laminated reception screens including two sets of glass revolving doors and three sets of opening glass doors.


Steelwork Details:


Stainless steel plate in varying thicknesses, aluminium Schűco curtain walling system.


More Information can be found on 




Lend Lease


MJP Architects


Sheppard Robson


London Container Terminal, Tilbury

Refurbishment of London Container Terminal Building, Tilbury

London Container Terminal contracted HBS on a rolling refurbishment programme to undertake a multi-discipline
pakage of works at their Tilbury Head Office
The works included complete refurbishment of the exterior and roof.
LCT One Joomla
A complete refurb of roof included installing skylights and removal and replacement of safety rails.
Having one company who could carry our such a varied scheme as a principal contractor was a major factor in securing
the contract. The HBS portfolio features a range of industrial projects in the Essex area so they are familiar with the
procedures within the Tilbury Docks area. The building is a busy hub and all work needs to be carried out speedily
and within set programmes. The project so far has been incredibly diverse from replacing the felt roof covering to
refurbishing the kitchen, offices and reception area.
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The complete building was repainted in the company brand colours
The latest package required the existing felt roof to be completely stripped and replaced with a 3 layer high build
mineral felt system. HBS also fitted a number of ventilation outlets and skylights to improve the working environment
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A completely new handrail system was also installed on the roof to meet current H&S legislation. In keeping with the
refurbishment programme HBS operatives stripped and prepared the existing exterior paintwork of the building before
carrying out a complete redecoration of the painted areas in the company brand colours. This involved working from
powered access platforms avoiding any discruption to the clients workforce and visitors to the office
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Internal Refurbishment included the reception, kitchen and offices
HBS Website for more details
All photography by Paul Scott / Front Elevation

Park House, Oxford Street

Raised Stone Flooring at Land Securities flagship development

Park House is a flagship Land Securities development scheme which occupies an entire American style ‘block’ on Oxford Street.




An architects impression of the building which has recently been completed.


The building is a very futuristic design of approximately 500,000 sq ft set within a nine storey steel and glass facade. It is the largest building project to take place in Oxford Street for over 40 years.


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The main foyer showing some of the Blue Grey granite raised floor installed by Szerelmey. The image also shows the wooden sculpture by the British artist, Walter Bailey


(Photography by Paul Scott )



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Looking out from foyer

Photography by Paul Scott


The raised flooring was installed using a modified system as shown below:

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The building is multi-use with three levels of retail topped with offices and 39 luxury apartments. 


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Photography by Paul Scott (Front Elevation


Szerelmey again worked with MACE continuing their long association and carried our precision raised stone flooring within several key areas of the development


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Photography by Paul Scott 


The upper floors are reserved for office space and greatly benefit from the glass facade and very futuristic structure.


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Szerelmey’s very experienced artisans were also responsible for the stone flooring within the main foyer which also contains a very striking wooden sculpture by the artist and sculptor, Walter Bailey


See Szerelmey website



Grosvenor Street, London

14 Grosvenor Street receives a new Front Elevation

14 Grosvenor Street sits squarely in the heart of Mayfair amongst some of the most prestigious office space in the UK.

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Sir Robert McAlpine were contracted to carry out a complete refurbishment of the property. They have recently completed similar projects in nearby Grosvenor Hill and are currently engaged on a 40,000 ft office refurb project just further up Grosvenor Street at No's 18-20.


Szerelmey were engaged as specialist stonework contractors following on from their succesful partnership with Sir Robert McAlpineat Grosvenor Hill


A Complete facade was constructed by Szerelmey that was both constructional and featuring Portland Stone Cladding

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The Facade consists of Portland Jordans Whitbed Cladding and Portland Roachbed Feature Bands

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Portland Roachbed Stone was used for feature walls internally


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The building now looks very comfortable with its Portland 'London's Local Stone' Facade but has been given a contemporary twist with the feature band and of course, thanks to Szerelmey's work, meets all the latest building regs

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A Nice Touch on the Entrance with the gold numerals set on the Portland Roachbed stone

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Fairwater Police Station, South Wales

HBS Liquid Roofing Fairwater Police Station


Client:South Wales Police Authority
Value: £150,000
Sector: Public
HBS secured this prestigious roofing project despite 5 other bidders within a competitive tender process for the client;The South Wales Police Authority.
The building required a full external scaffold which was carried out by tried and trusted partners from within the HBS supply chain. The flat roofing area of approx 2,200 square metres needed to be completed quickly and to a high specification. As 3M Approved Applicators HBS were able to recommend the 3M BBA (British Board of Agrement) approved 25 year EC/UV roofing system. The solvent based elastomeric compound is a two coat system and can be used in low temperatures.
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The Liquid Roofing System is cold applied so there is no flammability risk as might be the case with hot applied products
nor is there any requirement for naked flame completely reducing any possible fire risk.The HBS specialists cleaned
and sealed the existing roofing surface before applying a primer base coat followed by the liquid high performance
membrane.The system is quick drying which allowed the time sensitive programme to be met and being low odour
it created no inconvenence to staf working within the building. The HBS team removed the complete existing timber
fascia & soffit and replaced it with a low maintence Trespa composite system.
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HBS are 3M specialist Approved Applicators
Here is the finished project 
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For more details on  HBS or Liquid Roofing projects 
Contact HBS HBS website or email HBS at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Quadrant - Network Rail

The Quadrant, Milton Keynes

Interior & Exterior Hard Landscaping & Natural Stone Flooring


Network Rail Central Offices


Client - Network Rail
Main Contractor - Bam
Architects - GMW
Project Manager - MACE
Landscape Architects - Capita Lovejoy
(Szerelmey Contract Value - £600,000)
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The new National Centre for Network Rail in Milton Keynes is one of the 'greenest' office spaces in the UK being awarded a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating. The building is naturally ventilated and uses recycled rainwater to flush toilets. The construction project was undertaken by Bam on a very challenging 95 week build programme. As with many modern office complexes of this stature, the atrium is the interactive hub of the building and central to its success in every aspect. Szerelmey have worked with Bam and the architects, GMW, on many major projects so were the obvious choice to undertake the complex installation of the natural stone flooring within the primary area of the 38,000 square metre complex. 


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The relatively short build time required a great deal of design interaction with everything from delivery of materials to work programming. Bam project manager, Adam Harding made sure sub-contractors had an input from the very start observing that "Everything has an effect on everything else". The flooring is always one of the most difficult areas to work as the 96 metre long atrium is designed as the building's main thoroughfare and is almost akin to a small high street thus being the main access for much of the contractor footfall and materials.


The experience in design, material choice and installation offered by the Szerelmey team was paramount in being able to meet the build programme and get the 3,000 Network Rail staff in on time. Guy Milton, Bam project manager commented  “Szerelmey were able to advise and steer the architect as to the type of finish to expect from a natural product” The flooring in the atrium has an eclectic material mix including granite, yorkstone and solid wood. There are also trees and tree grilles which meant that the Szerelmey team were required to interact with other contractors responsible for these aspects.NR Int Three RS Joomla

As with any thoroughfare, protecting your finished work is very important. As the flooring areas were completed by the teams they still remained as access routes for plant, materials and contractors. Szerelmey are very experienced in this regard and the installation team had recently completed similar flooring projects at The Westfield Shopping Centre and Bluewater Retail Complex so protecting their work in heavily trafficked areas was a very familiar scenario.


With such a challenging timescale it would not be possible to repair or replace damaged areas so Bam were very appreciative of their expertise in this area. The Bam project manager responded to Szerelmey’s quality control questionnaire with the following “ They advised Bam of the possible pit falls of not protecting the finished product correctly, this allowed Bam to correctly protect the finishes and saved a lot of future problems”. Clearly this level of expertise adds value to the package that specialist contractors like Szerelmey are able to offer. The attention to detail doesn’t end even when the installation is completed. It is the ability to identify solutions to potential problems in pre and post installation situations which can generate real savings on projects of this size.

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Internally Szerelmey installed over 1700 square metres of Scout Moor Yorkstone. Their specialist craftsmen had to precision cut much of the stone to facilitate access panels, tree surrounds and abut to the areas containing alternative flooring materials. The design allowed for the paving to flow beyond the building envelope and Szerelmey installed a further 450 square metres of Scout Moor Yorkstone externally. The resulting layout enabled the buff coloured natural stone to compliment the modular concrete paving, laid by the Szerelmey team, alongside block paving installed by others as part of the groundworks package. Szerelmey's work included a series of complicated slopes and steps at various entrance points to the complex.

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The same installation team have also recently completed the stone flooring on another prestigious Bam project for The Medical Research Council in Addenbrookes, Cambridge, which was on a similar scale to The Quadrant. In these challenging conditions a good working relationship between main contractors and specialist contractors enables all parties to hit the ground running. The greatest beneficiary of this relationship is ultimately, the client.NR Ext Joomla


Press release: Sainsbury Laboratory

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The Cambridge University 'Sainsbury Laboratory' has been shortlisted for one of the UK's most prestigious architectural awards, The Stirling Prize.

The contemporary building was one of three projects in the RIBA 'mid-list' designed by Stanton Williams Architects. The Stirling Prize is awarded to the architects of the project built or designed in Britain 'which has made the greatest contribution to the evolution of architecture in the past year'.

The building is very radical in its design and was driven by functionality in its brief to provide a new international research facility in plant science.

The building has a concrete frame which has been embellished by the use of 1,000 square metres of 50mm thick ashlar cladding applied both internally and externally. The yellow Jaumont French Limestone was also used to construct over 168 4.5metre high columns or fins each weighing 180 kilos. The fins add a strong horizontal emphasis as when scrutinised from close quarters you are able to clearly distinguish the bands within the limestone.

Stanton Williams worked closely with the Vauxhall based stonework contractors, Szerelmey Ltd who in addition to installing the stonework, also designed and developed bespoke lifting gear to install it. Stone is very much a prominent feature of the building and the columns and stone inner staircase, made up of individual stone units each weighing 220 kilos, needed careful installation and required constant consultation between the main contractors, Kier Regional, the installers, Szerelmey and architects Stanton Williams. The inner stone staircase links the two above ground storeys of the building with the subterranean level which has reduced the overall height of the building. Yorkstone benches and paving feature in the inner and outer courtyards which compliment the external fabric.

The Laboratory is situated with the University of Cambridge Botanical Gardens and brings together some of the world's leading scientists within the 11,000 sq m complex. Alan Stanton, director at Stanton Williams stated: "The Laboratory is a major new international centre for pure research in plant science" The building was funded in part by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation which was set up by David Sainsbury (now Lord Sainsbury of Turville) and reflects his passion for plant science research.

The project has already won numerous accolades including a Civic Trust Award, overall winner in the British Concrete Society Awards and has been entered by Szerelmey in the 2012 Natural Stone Awards. The Stirling Prize will be presented on the 13th October and the current holder is Zaha Hadid's Evelyn Grace Academy.

Sainsbury Laboratory

The building is a mixture of concrete...

The Cambridge University - Sainsbury Laboratory


The building is a mixture of concrete and stone winning several awards for its design.

Sited on the Cambridge Botanical Gardens it can be viewed by the public and contains a public cafe.

The use of vertical stone columns is a form of brise soliel giving protection against solar gain.

The stone is Jaumont Limestone, which was installed by Szerelmey Ltd. The main contractors were Kier Build and architects were Stanton Williams.


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