Farringdon Road Case Study



The works on 68-86 Farringdon Road transformed a multi-story carpark into an eclectic scheme that includes a 180-key hotel, office accommodation, and retail spaces in London’s vibrant Clerkenwell neighbourhood.

Architects Sheppard Robson’s design for the external façade works included differentiating the hotel and office sections by changing the building façade across its length – resulting in the need for two separate solutions.

The building now features a striking sawtooth façade of KME TECU® Bronze and VMZINC Quartz-Zinc sheets expertly formed into bespoke rainscreen panels by Spanwall Facades. The KME TECU® Bronze sheeting with a distinctive copper look was used to clad the hotel element, whilst zinc cladding was chosen for the office development.

Design criteria.

This was an extremely challenging design intent and Spanwall collaborated with Alufix Façades, a specialist contractor in the installation of commercial glazing systems and various cladding solutions, to create two innovative rainscreen designs that could be manufactured and installed in the most efficient way possible – bringing Sheppard Robson’s vision to life.

Spanwall manufactured a bespoke hybrid rainscreen cladding system, firstly fabricating rhomboid shingle panels into chevrons and then an aluminium rainscreen carrier panel, the chevron shingles were individually mechanically fixed to the carrier panel as per the design intent to produce a unitised solution.

The copper and zinc finishes were chosen for both aesthetic appeal as well as their durable and long-lasting properties. The TECU® Bronze finish is rarely used in a project of this scale and this warm, reddish surface will continue to age according to the site’s elevation, location, and exposure, which ensures that each project is one of a kind.


The 68-86 Farringdon Road project was developed on a former car park site located on a small plot of land, with restricted access to the site. The size and fragility of the panels also provided logistical challenges for the specialist site installation phase of the project. Navigating the unitised sub-assembled rainscreen units around the scaffolding, and installing it onto the finished façade, required careful planning & co-ordination between Alufix and Spanwall throughout the project timeline.

The sizing of each unit was bespoke, and much larger than standard rainscreen, as each unitised panel was manufactured in floor-to-floor heights with some up to 5m high and 2m wide. Spanwall manufactured and installed more than 10,000 parts which were assembled into 150 zinc panels and 370 TECU® Bronze panels. Throughout the process, tight manufacturing tolerances had to be adhered to with Spanwall and Alufix conducting regular quality inspections at various stages of the process, to ensure that the extremely fragile rainscreen assemblies were packed and delivered to site without damage through the use of bespoke stillages for transport to site from the factory.

The project had an extremely demanding construction programme. However, Spanwall and Alufix Facades close collaboration ensured that the project was manufactured within the required window of three months.

Manufacturing excellence

The rainscreen façade assemblies, manufactured by Spanwall, were back ventilated featuring a system that enables the outer layer to breathe whilst the inner layer addressed the thermal insulation and air leakage.

The panels were manufactured in a factory-controlled environment at Spanwall’s state-of-the-art facilities, located in Belfast Norther Ireland. Using digital technology, the engineering team created a ground-breaking rainscreen system that enabled the TECU® Bronze and small zinc shingle panels to be pre-assembled into larger rainscreen panel assemblies, massively reducing installation time on-site to meet the tight installation deadline.

As well as minimising on-site disruption, manufacturing the products offsite also minimised weather impact, keeping the products protected and enabling a rapid install process.

“The shape, scale and intricacy of the cladding types made this a complicated project which required a high-quality product to satisfy the exacting standards of the client and the architect. Having dealt with the Spanwall team before and knowing their ability to deliver difficult projects on time and to budget, I had no reservations in bringing them on board as one of our key suppliers on the project.

“There has been a real collaborative and solution-focused approach to overcoming the many challenges that we faced, and it was a pleasure working with Spanwall on this project.”

Karol Doherty, Technical Director, Alufix Façades Limited