The English National Ballet has been named Overall Winner and Steel Category Winner at the 2020 Schueco Excellence Awards. The awards are judged on innovation, technical expertise and collaboration in the design of projects that incorporate Schueco facade, window and door systems. NACWL was responsible for the design, supply and installation of Schueco curtain wall glazing solutions for all four floors of The English National Ballet building.



Constructed by main contractor Ballymore and in a striking design developed by Glenn Howells Architects, the external façade of the steel building is a combination of glazing and semi-opaque cladding, allowing passers-by to view dancers practising inside – a design feature that aims to open up the building and the art of ballet to the wider community.

The project impressed the judges with its engineering excellence, particularly the ability of the steel curtain walling to support very large and heavy glass panels while retaining a lightweight and elegant aesthetic.

Achieving the elegant, translucent end-result required close teamwork and collaboration between us, the structural engineer and the architect. Key aspects of the installation were the 33 full height panes on the ground floor weighing 800kg each, and the 22 full-height panes on floors 1-3 as they were the largest NACWL had ever worked with and required us to adapt our systems accordingly. With each pane costing c.£5k, there was no margin for error!

The full-height panes exceeded the capacity of the Schueco cleats.  Our solution was to use load-bearing ground-based props. Crucially, the design of these elements prevents cold bridging, thereby ensuring the thermal performance of the glazed units. Crisp glass-to-glass corners are achieved by structurally bonding the unrestrained vertical pane edges to concealed profiles.

When it comes to complex and challenging construction projects of any size, we’re answering the call with innovatively designed, cost-effective solutions every time.

Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, commented on the finished building:

Our new home is a hub for creativity, where imaginations will be ignited. It is a springboard where artists from all disciplines can meet, grow, exchange, and inspire each other, creating work that can be shared with audiences up and down the country and across the world. I truly believe that this is the best ballet centre in the world.

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