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Seven Architecture, Willmott Dixon and Farpod drylining and joinery

Products: Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Boards

Project details

The eye-catching curves of the iconic Redcar Beacon – the landmark development for the redeveloped seafront at the North East England resort – were made simpler and faster to achieve by using Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor as the render carrier board.

Blending the designs of two buildings associated with the seaside – the lighthouse and the helter-skelter – the Redcar Beacon is a seven-storey circular building with an extremely tight diameter of just 6 metres that was created by Seven Architecture to provide a focal point to the newly-strengthened sea defences.

“We chose the product because not only could it achieve the curve required but it has the longevity we require: it has to look good and last well in an aggressive marine environment and all that involves, including sand, salt and birds,” commented architect Lisa McFarlane.

Main contractor Willmott Dixon engaged Farpod, the Ossett-based drylining and joinery contractors, to install Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor as the backing for the curved rendered walls for the external and semi exposed internal walls, using a double layer in many cases for impact resistance. Farpod found that the product was easy to cut, fix and curve and definitely saved time.

“We estimate that we saved about a third of the time we would have spent using conventional cement board and achieved a better finish because we would usually have to install two layers of 6mm thick cement board – which then leaves facets in the curve, rather like a 50p piece,” said director Neil Farr. The 24m tall building will encourage tourism so that visitors can take in panoramic views from the top-level viewing platform, buy refreshments from the ground-floor café and visit the art and crafts workshops that will occupy the floors between.

Offering all the benefits of a dry panel system with the strength of brick and block, Knauf AQUAPANEL® Cement Board Outdoor is a robust, non-combustible building panel made of aggregated Portland cement with coated glass fibre mesh embedded in back and front surfaces to provide a troublefree surface that is the ideal key for render. It resists water with no swelling or loss of stability, is weatherproof and is unaffected by the freeze-thaw cycle. The board requires no special tools or processes for installation – simply score and snap – and can be curved to a tight radius.