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Twelve miles of timber cladding is the stand-out feature on a new multi-storey car park in Manchester.

It’s the brainchild of AFL Architects, who worked with Maple and main contractors Vinci to create an architectural façade that blends in with its surroundings.

Brunnea-treated timber cladding complements aluminium folded panels on the façade of the 818-space car park on a project that also had to consider many practical challenges. As well as blending in with the local residential area, the façade was designed to protect the privacy of neighbouring properties and prevent light-spill from headlights.

It has narrow slats on the upper levels, while at lower levels (where inter-visibility is less of an issue), wider-spaced timber fins provide ventilation as well as protection from the elements.

“Visually, it looks very good for a car park,” said Peter Dodd, Senior Project Manager for VINCI Construction UK. “It’s exactly how the architect wanted it to look. And it had to be, because it was such a sensitive scheme with the locals.”

Brunnea-treated timber holds colour for longer than similar products and reduces the rate of weathering. The treatment process impregnates wood cladding with a blend of preservative and Brunnea pigment to provide long-term protection against insects, rot and fungal decay.

The organic nature of the timber is further enhanced by living walls and rainscreen cladding was fixed to two of the stair cores. The cladding was an integral part of the Maple project and was designed to blend in with the adjacent hospital building.

As well as looking great, the completed façade also complies with fire regulations. “The biggest challenges were the fire regs and the quick turnaround required for design and manufacture,” added Peter. “Maple had a vital contribution. The envelope design was fixed because it was already planning approved, but they helped us fit that in with the new fire regs. Following that, they managed to meet our accelerated programme and deliver a quality product.”