Very British! Portcullis House embodies all the traditions of English craftsmanship. A solid, quality construction, â€ś200 yearsâ€ť was specified as the lifetime for this extension to the Houses of Parliament. Protection against bomb attacks and earthquakes was also essential. Connected directly to the London Underground and linked via a tunnel to the other parliamentary buildings across the road, it provides numerous additional office and conference facilities for British MPs and their staff.
Whether bronze, copper, aluminium or glass, seldom has seele been confronted by such a combination of materials in the design and construction of a faĂ§ade. Finding the technical solutions and setting up the logistics for completion on time were the biggest challenges. The fabrication of the window modules, the frames of which are made from cast and extruded aluminium-bronze sections, proved to be especially demanding. Even at the start of the project back in 1996, some of the complex cast parts were already being designed using 3D methods so that the dies could be milled directly on CNC machines. The precisely engineered cast components were assembled with the glazing, cladding and light-redirecting louvres according to the â€śbuilding kit principleâ€ť and completely prefabricated before being delivered and installed.
Alvis Vehicles Ltd. played a major role in this unique faĂ§ade. Together with seele, this British company with a long tradition developed new welding techniques for joining the various materials. Sandblasted, dried, pre-weathered and provided with a protective wax coating, all parts of the faĂ§ade â€“ whether windows, cladding or sheet metal roofing â€“ exhibit a uniform patina. The different components therefore combine to form an albeit artificial, but nevertheless dignified, â€śmatureâ€ť faĂ§ade. From the window elements to the roof surfaces and the numerous â€śchimneysâ€ť (part of the natural internal climate system) â€“ an artistic anticipation of the 200 years of history ahead of this building!