SPITFIRE-INSPIRED FAÇADE TAKES OFF IN STOKE

Posted by Jake Dunn on 11/01/22 16:23
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The design of a new multi-storey car park in Stoke-on-Trent takes its inspiration from an icon of British aviation history


Maple’s vertical fins on the exterior of Smithfield MSCP will have an asymmetrical profile based on the famous Spitfire aircraft, which was designed in the 1930s by local man Reginald Mitchell. 

But it’s not just the shape of the 200 aluminium fins that will evoke memories of the World War Two fighter aircraft – pre-fabrication of standard components and modular construction will create fascinating engineering connections. 

The revolutionary design of the Spitfire enabled mass production and efficiency in times of war. Now, nearly 90 years later, Maple are working with architects AHR and main contractor Willmott Dixon on a standard fin design that can be manufactured efficiently and assembled quickly in a number of combinations to add visual interest. 

It’s typical of Maple’s commitment to transform architects’ visions into cost-effective and buildable reality, with the initial concept refined and developed to align with the design intent AND the client’s budget. 

Although the profiled fins will give the impression of a random pattern on the façade, they will actually be constructed in standard 3m sections of folded aluminium. Full-size mock-ups on the sections have already been created in our Stockport factory, with the design wind-tested on an advanced desktop simulator – vital for a seven-storey building in an exposed location. 

Our experts have also been on site to assess the steel structure and identify the most appropriate and cost-effective fixing systems to use, while long-lasting powder-coating in silver and gold tones has been recommended to replicate an anodised finish. 

In addition to the aluminium vertical fins, which will cloak all elevations of the 730-space car park and provide some protection for visitors, Maple are also supplying and installing solid panels to enclose the stair core. 

The Smithfield multi-storey is being delivered for Stoke City Council and Genr8 Developments, and is being built close to The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, where a new glass extension houses a restored Spitfire. It’s the latest collaboration between Maple and Willmott Dixon, following recent car park projects at Kings Dock and Victoria Street in Liverpool, and at Gateshead’s Baltic Quarter. 

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