New Accies' stadium is clad in success
Working under the guidance of award-winning architects MLA (Michael Laird Architects), Glasgow-based façade specialist MSP has recently completed a technically challenging cladding project for the historic Edinburgh Academicals Rugby Football Club. Locally known as ‘The Accies’, the Raeburn Place ground hosted the first Rugby match between Scotland and England in 1871.
The new development will be used by the Academicals and other local sporting clubs and includes spectator stands for approximately 2,500 spectators, changing, training and gym facilities, a museum, licensed premises / function rooms and administrative facilities.
While the cantilevered timber structure of the stadium is what first grabs the visitor’s attention, the development contains a wealth of cladding that was technically challenging and visually arresting.
Inside the Accies development imposing, curved radius columns create a sense of solidity. These were technically challenging and demonstrates the importance of a close working relationship between designer, main contractor and cladding manufacturer.
Gillian Thomson, branch manager of MSP Façade Solutions based in Cumbernauld, explained: “The radii of each internal column were not all the same around the face of the curve. This meant that different shapes and profiles were needed for each column to ensure they would fit correctly around the pre-existing steel work.
“Together with our customer R&N Facades Ltd., we were involved at the initial design discussion with the client and developed the original idea before creating a sample design to trial fit on site. The precise dimensions of the samples were then adjusted where necessary to ensure the finished product was a perfect fit. When forming the curves from aluminium sheet, each had to be individually rolled to the exact specification required. So each curve was really made to measure! Once all the design issues were ironed out, each column had to be drawn (using CADCAM), punched, formed and powder coated – all at our Glasgow premises.”
Outside the stadium, the shopfronts also utilized powder coated aluminium cladding, which was more straightforward. The design comprised goal post style portals using interlocking plank panels in 2mm thick powder coated aluminium.
Gillian Thomson concluded: “Another surprisingly complex element of the cladding was the external capping. Here, each of the panels and the finished cappings had to be individually drawn in CADCAM, punched, formed and then powder coated to create a seamless, natural look. With natural material such as stone and wood being so important to the stadium design, we had to ensure that all of the cladding – internal and external – maintained this high quality finish. Making sure that every joint fitted correctly was vital so our ability to design, model, amend, fabricate and powder coat all the cladding locally was important.”