The Fold has brought a little bit of Las Vegas bling to the humble south London suburb of Sidcup. The £20m development was completed by main contractor United House last year. For specialist external envelope contractor Prater it was one of its most complex projects ever. The Fold comprises five different types of metal cladding – rhomboids, rectangular shingles, horizontal angled seam, vertical angled seam and perforated mesh.
The Fold forms part of a larger regeneration project next to Sidcup station and includes 98 flats, a restaurant, two office buildings and a central plant room. Prater was selected to provide a complete external envelope package along with an in-house hard metals (copper, brass and zinc) design capability. Among its package of works, Prater completed the curved brass façade, which is manufactured from 63/37 alloy, separated by a TECU gold feature band on the exterior.
The TECU gold is also the same material used in the centre of a €2 coin and will retain its original colour, while the brass should eventually oxidise and darken to a deep chocolate colour. Prater pre-construction director Gavin Hamblett says: “Although on first inspection the way that the brass is folded and fixed bears some resemblance to a standing seam metal roof, there are only a very few very skilled craftsmen who can do such work; and the way the elevations to The Fold curve and overlap required that the setting-out was of the highest standard.”
Prater also provided structural waterproofing, paved roof finishes, structural backing wall, windows, doors, louvres and abseil railings. “With such a complex job, and one that had never been tried before, we could rely on Prater’s experience to move the project from the architect’s concept to the actual working reality, while making sure all the aesthetic and performance requirements were met,” says United House quantity surveyor Greg Hale.