The 8,800 sq ft building, under construction at the university’s Stoke-on-Trent campus, is set to be completed in September 2021. It will act as a study base for 6,500 new apprenticeships by 2030.
The precast brick cladding panels, currently in production, are designed in homage to the region’s ceramic history. The façade will adopt the concept of Staffordshire blue bricks entwined with red bricks, the university said. The brick selection ensures both halves of a cut brick can be used as a facing material thus halving material waste, it said.
Pro vice-chancellor Andrew Proctor said: “Staffordshire University is delighted to be working with Thorp Precast on the building facades. Thorp has an international reputation for design and delivery and it is important that we are drawing on this local talent in a project of this strategic importance.
“As a leading civic university, we are deeply committed to working in partnership with local suppliers to create effective supply-chains across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. We have kept the brick-miles to a minimum and we are committed to acting locally and being sustainable.”
Harvey Thorp, managing director of Thorp Precast, added: “With most of our projects located in London and other major UK cities it is refreshing to be working on such an important landmark building in our local Staffordshire area. Thorp is all about modern methods of construction, driving new innovations in design and manufacturing, utilising the very latest precast technology, all of which have played a part in manufacturing precast units for this outstanding educational facility.
“We now look forward to installing the fully finished panels to produce what we are confident will be a striking contemporary façade referencing North Staffordshire’s long and distinguished heritage for production of clay bricks and ceramics.”
The project team for The Catalyst consists of Vinci as main contractor (£27m contract value), Mace as project and cost manager, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios as architect, Max Fordham as mechanical & electrical engineer, and Momentum as structural & civil engineer.