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Facade Delivers Architect’s Design Intent

Bought by Chorley Council in 2013, Market Walk already comprised more than 30 shops and an outdoor parade, with excellent local parking. The local authority has since rolled out ambitious plans to attract both big-brand stores and independent retailers to Chorley town centre.


The £17m Market Walk project includes a new six-screen Reel Cinema, an M&S Food Hall, an Escape Entertainment bowling and adventure golf complex and a Loungers bar and restaurant, along with public realm improvements.

The high-calibre project has been designed to offer a quality environment that enhances the town centre, both aesthetically and economically, and the specification of the SureClad Ceramic Granite system from Shackerley supports both of those goals. The SureClad system delivers a high-end and resilient appearance for the facades, while engaging a local manufacturer, with Shackerley based just minutes from the project.

Building the custom experience into the specification

A key element of the strategy for constructing the Market Walk extension was to encourage local residents to stay and spend in Chorley and attract footfall from surrounding districts.

Explains Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council from Chorley Council: “Since we acquired Market Walk, it has played a key role in our town centre strategy, adding to the existing draw of our traditional markets and providing a knock-on effect throughout the town centre by attracting footfall both during the day and in the evening.

“The new extension builds on that success by creating compelling reasons for people to come to Chorley and for local people to spend their time and money locally. That’s why it was so important that the specification for the project complements the character of the town and offers a high-quality, enjoyable experience.”

Practical approach

The Market Walk project was designed by AEW Architects. The practice’s brief was to design a building that would create impact, and this was achieved by using materials that combine a natural aesthetic drawing inspiration from the local built environment, with metallic, anodised aluminium. Initially, the planning department required the use of natural stone but the AEW team suggested Shackerley’s SureClad Ceramic Granite system as a practical and attractive alternative.

Explains Bernard Lam from AEW Architects: “The planning department stipulated natural stone to maintain consistency of materials with other local landmark buildings, but we were concerned that using stone would involve longer lead times, along with cost and material handling implications.

“As we needed to maintain access to the town centre for both market traders and their customers, we were keen to find an alternative that would answer planning expectations. We also wanted to find a solution that would maintain high quality standards and provide the natural aesthetic that the client wanted, while offering practical advantages. We had used Shackerley’s SureClad Ceramic Granite system for a previous retail project in Manchester and we knew it would be an ideal solution.”

AEW suggested the use of Shackerley’s SureClad Ceramic Granite in Lopar; a creamy beige colourway, which has natural variegation on each panel to give a stone-like appearance. The design team compared samples of the ceramic granite with local churches to demonstrate that it would offer an appearance in-keeping with the local architectural context. Produced at one of Shackerley’s ISO 9001-accredited factories, each 1198 x 598mm panel was just 11mm thick, making the SureClad elements of the facade more lightweight, easier to handle and faster to install than natural stone alternatives.

Bernard Lam continues: “The Shackerley SureClad Ceramic Granite system provided cost savings as compared to natural stone and, because it is non-porous, those cost advantages will be felt throughout the lifespan of the building because the facade will offer a low-maintenance solution. It will not discolour over time due to weathering and offers resistance to both algae growth and graffiti.”

Easier installation

Specification of Shackerley’s SureClad Ceramic Granite system also aligned with Chorley Council’s social value objectives for the project, by allowing facade procurement through a local supply chain.

Councillor Alistair Bradley continues: “Using a local supply chain wherever possible means that the development benefits all aspects of the local economy throughout the build and operational phase. It’s not always possible to procure materials locally but, in this case, we were able to acquire the ideal facade system for the project while supporting local jobs.”

The local supply chain also provided benefits in terms of speed of procurement and helped to shorten the build programme. Panels were delivered to site on a just-in-time basis and were installed as part of a Kingspan Facades’ QuadCore Karrier Panel system. This innovative external envelope solution brings together Kingspan’s high-performance structural insulating QuadCore panels with the premium appearance and longevity of Shackerley’s fully-prefabricated ceramic granite cladding and the installation benefits of Shackerley’s patented Queen’s Award-winning SureClad Access System.

The combined Shackerley and Kingspan system enabled cladding contractor, Axis Envelope Solutions, to make the building watertight with the installation of the structural panels prior to installation of the SureClad facade. The completed Shackerley/Kingspan system also delivers excellent airtightness and low U-values post-installation, helping to ensure a high standard of comfort and energy efficiency.

Paul Cox from Axis Envelope Solutions comments: “The Shackerley system provided us with a pre-fabricated product which is simple and quick to install helping us to achieve the required onsite installation period.

“Shackerley provided both standard pre-fabricated large-format panels and bespoke requirements to site, aligned to our installation schedule. Projecting feature piers and reveals into glazing and door reveals helped to create crisp detailing at junctions, interfaces and corners.”

High quality, low maintenance

Shackerley’s SureClad Ceramic Granite system played a key role in delivering the aesthetic goals of the project while providing buildability benefits. The result is a project that completed on time with a high-quality, low-maintenance facade that delivers the architect’s design intent within the public sector budget.

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