New Addington Leisure and Community Centre

The stunning state-of-the-art, multi-level, Better New Addington Leisure & Community Centre, designed by GT3 Architects for the London Borough of Croydon, features buff brick cladding with 3D- textured detailing thanks to external cladding supplier Aquarian Cladding Systems.

The project was part of the Southern Construction Framework and followed a string of work carried out by Willmott Dixon for the Borough. It was also home to the building contractor’s first Building Lives Academy, aimed at upskilling young people in the area and providing them with an opportunity to join the construction industry.

Originally, another brick cladding system was specified for use, however due to the complexity of the stepped window frame detailing, the additional cladding support rail cost, the time it would take to install, and a lack of product warranty from the supplier, an alternative cladding system was sought to meet the programme and budget. To resolve the challenge, Aquarian and specialist cladding contractor Express Dry Lining, part of Aquarian’s Approved Installer Network worked closely together to achieve an acceptable finish to match the specified material, which suited the local vernacular thus meeting the aesthetic, programme, and commercial requirements.

Peter Head, Director of Express Dry Lining said:

“The design and installation support of Aquarian helped us ensure that all stakeholders were supported throughout the process of material selection, buildability, component production and assembly to achieve a photogenic building free of defects which will last. This is one of those projects to be proud of for a very long time.”


In addition, the solution had to be a cladding system that used brick slips which could also be produced as standard bricks to build landscaping planters and achieve a seamless ‘hit-and-miss’ brick feature in the façade. As an innovative, panelised, insulating brick cladding system, which has been successfully tested to BS8414 on five separate occasions and has an EN13501 fire rating of B, s1, d0, Gebrik was perfect, with Aquarian supplying 1126m2 to the project. To achieve the 3D features in accordance with the architect’s design brief, eighteen different panel and corner components were produced, 25% of which were bespoke and therefore project-specific.

The expertise of Express Dry Lining in the setting out of the substrate ensured the 60mm thick ‘brick wallpaper’ was consistent across the entire façade with perp joint alignment across both the stretcher and stack bond panels. Their attention to detail in ensuring the system was cleaned down after pointing ensured the façade was completed on time and to everyone’s satisfaction. The finished project was completed six weeks ahead of the revised programme with Gebrik significantly contributing to the speed of construction and reduction in the programme, leading to significant cost benefits elsewhere.

The London Borough of Croydon is delighted with the quality of the completed building, with Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure, and sport, quoted as saying:

“This is a stunning new centre with first-class facilities for everyone in New Addington to enjoy and be proud of.” Peter Head concluded by saying, “It is unlikely any other brick cladding solution could have been used as cost-effectively and efficiently as Gebrik to create a façade of such high quality.


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