University of Sheffield select HIMACS wall cladding

Sheffield University's Faculty of Social Sciences has undergone a large scale transformation with the introduction of a mini campus called The Wave – uniting facilities that were previous spread across 18 separate buildings. Designed by HLM Architects with a budget of £65m, the nucleus of the project is The Drum – a circular lecture block comprising three levels with lecture theatres inside, surrounded by mezzanines with tables and chairs for study or socialising and topped with a glass roof to let the light flood in.

The Drum is fully clad in 500 sheets of LX Hausys' HIMACS solid surfacing in Alpine White S028, which was sourced from Latham Timber. More than 1,300 individual pieces were then thermoformed  by fabricators 3G Joinery & Shopfitting in Leeds to complete the design.

Amy Hipwell, Interior Designer at HLM Architects, explains why they selected HIMACS for the project: “There were a number of key considerations when choosing the material that would clad the Drum within the atrium of The Wave building. The material needed to be durable and low maintenance with the ability to be curved and appear seamless. The Drum is a central feature of the atrium and is not only visible from every area within the building but it’s also accessible from every level.

“The concept for the interior focused on well-being and the use of natural materials. The chosen material for the Drum needed to contrast against these softer finishes. Due to the amount of daylight through the atrium roof, it was important that the colour wouldn’t be affected over time. It became clear that solid surfacing was the right material, as it would stand the test of time and still look impressive in years to come.”