Brick cladding system Gebrik was the star of the show on a £34m project that has played a central role in the transformation of the western side of Central Parade in New Addington.

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.

Gebrik to the rescue

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 brick cladding system was required.

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 and met the aesthetic, programme, and commercial requirements.

The solution also 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 Gebrik, which has been successfully tested to BS8414 on five separate occasions and has an EN13501 fire rating of B, s1, d0, was perfect and Aquarian supplied 1126m2 for the project.

A high standard

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’ is consistent across the entire façade with perp joint alignment across both the stretcher and stack bond panels. And 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 contributed to the speed of construction and reduction in programme leading to significant cost benefits elsewhere.

Aquarian Cladding’s Managing Director Paul Richards said: “Having supplied over 400 projects across the UK, the use of Gebrik on the New Addington Centre is truly unique and as always, Express Dry Lining did a fantastic job on the install.

“The stepped reveal detail used to frame the main windows has never been attempted before and the result is stunning. The entire brick façade adds a texture to the building that one would not normally expect possible with the use of brick slips.”

A building to be proud of

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.”

New Addington Leisure and Community Centre

While 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.”

For Jazz Rigden, Aquarian Cladding’s Sales Director, the building is yet another success story for Aquarian and Gebrik. “The unusual architecture demonstrates to architects and clients what can be achieved without having to compromise their design ideas.

“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.”

Working with architects, contractors, developers and installation specialists, Aquarian’s cladding systems, including its A1-rated Terreal Terracotta Rainscreen System, have been used on many award-winning buildings across a wide range of sectors. For more information call 0808 223 9080, email