The Cube: a step nearer to completion

Designed by Make, The Cube is a GBP 100 million 23-storey mixed-use scheme, which is a high profile regeneration project, with a low energy design. Thanks to the modular cladding, architects have had …

Designed by Make, The Cube is a GBP 100 million 23-storey mixed-use scheme, which is a high profile regeneration project, with a low energy design. Thanks to the modular cladding, architects have had the flexibility to tailor the glazing on the external and internal elevations in response to potential solar gain, and provide a high degree of insulation and a low U value faade. The faade has been constructed and installed by HAGA using Wicona unitized curtain walling, with 20,000 panels that have three different depths, casting a variety of shadows to add texture to the external faade. The internal elevations have glazed unitized panels that twist up through a central courtyard and “explode“ at the top to crown the building with the city“s first rooftop restaurant. The Wicona unitized faade was fabricated off-site, thus allowing each floor to be clad ready for earlier fitting out as the building rose upwards, also removing the need for scaffolding and material storage on this constrained city centre site. Frances Gannon, Partner at Make, said, commenting on the faade design and specification, The Cube is a dramatic building on Birmingham“s skyline, emphasising its status as a world-class city. The specially-designed unitized cladding system has been an important part of the building“s identity and successfully echoes the city“s heavy engineering heritage. The end result is very beautiful. Wicona“s technical manager in the UK, Karlheinz Beck, said, This is Wicona“s largest project in the UK to date and demonstrates how unitized faades can deliver an architect“s different aesthetic requirements for a single project and a demanding specification, as well as site-related advantages, such as minimising work on site, and removing the need for material storage space and scaffolding. This project is very different to any other Wicona application – both in the UK and internationally – and its striking, elegant and intricate appearance is testament to the vision and creativity of the design and development team. Due for completion in summer 2010, The Cube will contain 135 flats, 111,500 sq.ft. (10,360 sq.m.) of offices, shops, a hotel and a “skyline“ restaurant.