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Islands Project wins INCA Project of the Year 2016

Chester Zoo Monsoon Forest Show image in its full size

A external wall insulation system and render solution has helped Chester Zoo open the doors of its latest ‘Islands’ exhibit area to the public

The new Monsoon Forest display area is the UK’s largest zoological building, and forms part of the Zoo’s £40m ‘Islands’ project - the biggest development in UK zoo history.

At the INCA (Insulated Render and Cladding Association) Awards event held 20th October 2016 in London, the 'Islands' project won Non-Residential and Project of the Year - a great achievement for all involved.

“This was a very complex project which demanded great flexibility and technical expertise from us, but we were able to overcome all the obstacles and the finished result is very impressive,” comments Sto Technical Consultant Phil Mattatia.

Designed by Berlin-based architects dan pearlman, the concrete building covers an area as large as a football pitch, and now houses a number of endangered species from Southeast Asia, including snakes, giant tortoises and crocodiles. This requires a constant internal temperature to be maintained, so the StoTherm Mineral EWI system that was chosen had a vital role to play in achieving the correct U-value of 0.23W/m²K. There were many curves and changes of level in the external concrete surfaces which the insulation was applied to. This required the use of different thicknesses of insulation and a high degree of on-site problem-solving, along with close collaboration between Sto, the insulation contractor and the architect. Eventually, an adhesively fixed system was used, suited to the high wind loadings caused by the height of the building.

“The Sto EWI system provides excellent thermal performance and great fire protection so it was an excellent choice for this project,” adds Steve McGowan, Managing Director of Wigan-based Astley Facades who installed the insulation. “There were many challenges, but Sto were there on site whenever we needed them to help devise solutions. Their technical assistance was very valuable and they were with us every step of the way.”

Above the damp-proof course the EWI system was finished with Sto’s water repellent and weather resistant Stolit K multi-purpose render, which was given an attractive stippled texture. Sto Superlit acrylic render was used below this level, as its exposed, natural stone aggregate surface offers high resistance to mechanical stress, and even greater impact resistance for the more vulnerable surface areas.

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See the project page for Monsoon Forest

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