One of the latest hotels from the Premier Inn chain in Cardiff Bay is using bespoke ‘Polyma’ GRP column casings from Encasement to conceal diagonal structural steelwork that runs along the full length of the building, while adding a distinctive and colourful feature due to their bright yellow finish.
Although the successful regeneration and development of Cardiff Bay has attracted a wide range of businesses and stimulated tourism, it has also exposed a shortfall in quality hotel accommodation in the area, which the new Premier Inn is helping to address.
Designed by Holder Mathias Architects as part of the £40 million Cardiff Waterside development that also includes two office buildings, the eight-storey hotel has 210 double, twin and family rooms, together with a restaurant, bar and meeting facilities.
As Cardiff Bay includes an eclectic mix of building types and styles, ranging from ultra modern angular office buildings to mid-nineteenth century structures, the Premier Inn’s unique exterior design reflect the area’s characteristics with the use of ‘punched hole’ widows, brick style facade and Encasement’s bright yellow casings.
An integral aspect of the building’s steel frame construction is the use of diagonal square section supports below a sharp cantilevered edge on the front elevation, which are joined at the top and base to create a continuous angular design.
To conceal the structural steelwork and enhance the building’s aesthetics, Encasement’s Polyma GRP range was used, as it is weather proof and resistant to damage, which makes it ideal for exterior use.
Encasement manufactured and installed 40 column casing sections, each measuring 400mm in diameter and 3860mm in length, together with 40 bespoke ‘V’ shaped casing sections and two single casings to conceal the fixing brackets at each end.
Due to the unique casing design, all the casings were manufactured from 10mm thick GRP, which was hand-laid in moulds to give a precise form, while ensuring the casings incorporated the specified high quality yellow RAL 1018 Gel-coat finish.
Each casing was designed to work as a two-part design, which enables the casing to be placed around the structural steelwork before being secured and the joint lines concealed using colour-matched polymer filler.
To ensure the system fitted perfectly over the steelwork, Encasement constructed a framework within the column casing, which is fixed to the steelwork and provides a continuous support to each component. This also allows each casing to be secured to the frame and hold each element securely in place to provide a strong and rigid solution.
Encasement’s Managing Director, Martin Taylor, explained: “We have been involved in a wide range of projects requiring casing solutions of all shapes, sizes and materials. Some are purely for aesthetic reasons; while others take advantage of a particular material’s characteristics that overcomes a specific technical challenge or meets a unique specification requirement.
“However, with this project, the casings were not only genuinely unique, to accommodate the layout of the building’s steel support structure, but also had to have good damage resistance, excellent weather-proof performance and make a bold aesthetic statement for one of the UK’s best known hotel brands.”
He added: “The end result speaks for itself, as the finished project not only looks dramatic, but also meets all the client’s technical and performance specifications. We’re delighted to have played a part in this excellent project.”