Despite the public seeing empty shops on the high streets, retail giant Next continues to show growth. Launched in February 1882, Next now has more than 500 stores in the UK and Eire and around 200 stores in more than 40 countries overseas. Quick to identify the opportunities offered by the internet, in 1998 the 'Next Directory' was launched, and with the latest edition having over 1400 pages, the company reports 4.1 million active online customers.
To service both the physical outlets and the online businesses, which together turn over £40bn, Next has a nationwide network of distribution warehouses. The latest facility, which has a footprint that approaches 100,000m2, includes warehousing, office space, a data centre, ancillary staff areas, a call centre and a canteen on the top floor with a rooftop garden and mezzanine levels.
Main contractor Bowmer & Kirkland commenced earthworks early in 2015 on the latest Next distribution centre. The project utilised some 5,000 tonnes of structural steel in a design that maintained maximum flexibility for the future. It was completed by the end of the year.
The building is 25m high and 380m in length and is designed to accommodate a two storey mezzanine structure, whilst having the height to add a third storey if future demands require it. Specialist HGV docking facilities enable lorry trailers to be disconnected outside the building then automatically rolled inside the building for loading. Architects SiCa were always aware that such an expansive building needed a modern approach, both structurally and aesthetically, meaning that the cladding needed careful consideration.
To create an interesting façade, SiCa selected a range of complementary but contrasting finishes and textures. Demonstrating the flexibility of Euroclad's Elite built-up systems, the architects mixed Elite 51's vertical and Elite 55's horizontal trapezoidal designs with the Half Round 50/1000 cladding profile on different building elements. The decision to contrast the colours of 'Merlin Grey', 'Goosewing Grey' and 'Grey Aluminium' with 'White Aluminium' achieved visually impressive façades and ensured interest without dominating the landscape. Maintaining consistency of supplier and contractor, yet utilising the different design options, was especially important, helping to achieve: excellent interface details; the low u-value of 0.24W/m²K; and tight air permeability requirements. In adopting this principle, SiCa created a building that worked functionally, technically and visually.
|Material||Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra®|
|Colours||Merlin, Goosewing Grey, Grey Aluminium and White Aluminium|