FINZELS REACH, BRISTOL
Based in Bristol, Finzels Reach is an innovative mixed-use development in the city centre. With this complex project, Modular Clay Products was tasked with striking the optimum balance between aesthetic appeal and cost-effectiveness. But as the original design concept evolved, the team found that its experience in managing different stakeholder demands was as critical as its knowledge of the bricks themselves.
Finzels Reach is a new city quarter in central Bristol, with over 300,000 sq ft of ‘Grade A’ office space, 399 apartments and more than 87,000 sq ft of cafés and shops. Modular Clay Products began working on this complex ongoing project in early 2007.
Evan Salmon, Sales Manager at Modular Clay Products, describes the evolution of the initial design concept: “The architect’s original concept had been based around rain screen terracotta, but the cost had ultimately proven prohibitive. Our role was to investigate the option of using 50mm bricks to create a ‘slicker’ appearance.”
However, establishing a consensus of opinion over colours among the architect, the client and the planner was a more protracted process.
Modular Clay Products capitalised on its previous experience of similar situations to skilfully manage these different stakeholder demands. After a period of negotiation, the architect’s original colour choices were upheld and the team found two other brick types that satisfied all parties – all of which were available in the 50mm format.
Due to the build-up of the cavity wall, a 90mm brick had been used for all the straight runs of the brickwork. This meant that a 102mm brick had to be used on the window reveals and the corners to maintain the integrity of the coursing. Overall, more than 40 different special-shaped bricks were used to cater for the different angles.
Modular Clay Products used its unrivalled experience in sourcing materials across the whole of the UK and the Continent to track down the most cost-effective solution for the client. But the team still faced another challenge: the fluid scope of the project itself. During the process, a change of architect meant that Modular Clay Products had to make a seamless switch between the outgoing and incoming practices, says Tim West, Managing Director of Modular Clay Products.
“By keeping our working processes as tight as possible, we were well positioned to make this transition a smooth one. We focused on project-managing the logistics from our office to ensure that the deliveries arrived on time and contained the correct supplies. To date, Modular Clay Products has supplied 75% of the bricks for Finzels Reach, and we look forward to supplying the remaining 25%.”
“The architect’s original concept had been based around rain screen terracotta, but the cost had ultimately proven prohibitive. Our role was to investigate the option of using 50mm bricks to create a ‘slicker’ appearance.”
Evan Salmon, Sales Manager, Modular Clay Products