Crittall helps Oxford college get top marks for sustainability

by Laura

An innovative glazing system that combines the technical expertise of Crittall Windows and Crystal Units has contributed to state-of-the-art energy efficiency at Mansfield College, Oxford.

The college authorities were looking to increase on-site student accommodation substantially so as to enhance overall income. They also wanted to provide additional educational and research facilities and to do so within a building that set new standards for sustainability.

The result is the Hands Building, begun on site in 2016 and now completed and occupied. Mansfield is one of Oxford’s smaller colleges and the new building, occupying a site on the south east corner of the main quadrangle, now provides 74 en-suite student apartments – a 75% increase in student accommodation – together with lecture and seminar facilities. The new six-storey building also houses the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.

The building was designed by Rick Mather Architects (now MICA Architects) to retain as much green space as possible using heat exchange and solar thermal technology for space heating. To ensure energy generation demand is kept as low as possible, very high thermal performance was a requirement for the building fabric.

To assist with achieving this Crittall MW40 double-glazed windows incorporating a CUIN centre pane were installed throughout.  CUIN, supplied by Crystal Units, utilises a thin film inserted in the mid-point of a double-glazed unit so as to convert it to provide triple-glazed performance.

In the Hands Building the CUIN/Crittall partnership has enabled a 0.6 W/m²K centre pane U-value in a 32mm thick IGU, which lent itself perfectly to the Crittall Windows MW40 system where thermal performance and heritage appearance combined as essential attributes.

The innovative building design also makes use of a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) frame for the top four levels of student accommodation. This system is made offsite and is assembled far quicker than a traditional concrete frame and represents a reduction in the carbon footprint over a traditional construction method.

The use of CUIN centre pane technology also reduces the weight of each window unit compared with a traditional triple-glazed system with corresponding savings in transportation and loading on the structure in which it is installed.

Stuart Cade, Director of MICA Architects, said: “We selected Crittall as a slim, elegant window versatile enough to provide thin-framed casements in addition to glass corners. We used the biggest formats Crittall provided. Overall the building is the greenest of its kind in Oxford.”

Client: Mansfield College, Oxford
Architect: Rick Mather Architects (now MICA Architects), King Charles House, Park End Street, Oxford, OX1 1JD
Main Contractor: Beard Construction, 201 Cumnor Hill, Oxford, OX2 9PJ

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