Fibre cement

Architectural practice Alexander Sedgley has specified a pioneering vertical fibre cement slate facade system for a luxury private mews development in London.

The Vertigo slates, from manufacturer Marley Eternit, have been used to create striking projecting bays on the front and rear of the exclusive terraced and semi detached rental properties at William Mews, near Brockley.

Built by Proctor Developments, the distinctive eco-friendly homes use timber frame construction, so the architects needed to specify a lightweight cladding material. They also wanted the bays to create a strong contrast against the yellow-flecked London stock brick required by planning. Although zinc or render were initially considered, Alexander Sedgley architects selected the new Vertigo system for its aesthetic and lightweight properties.

Project architect Stephen Alexander explains: “As we were using a timber frame, getting a lightweight material to clad the projecting structures was very important and when we saw the Vertigo system, we knew it was perfect for this development.

“The site is surrounded by two-storey Victorian houses and we wanted to create a contemporary contrast, without it being too imposing. As well as meeting our weight criteria, the Vertigo system gives a clean, contemporary slate aesthetic that will stand the test of time, but crucially remains sympathetic to the surroundings.

“It was very easy to detail and the other big advantage was that the roofing contractor was able to install it, so we didn’t need a specialist fitter. It was also much more economical than using sheet metal and removed the aesthetic problem of visible seams.”

The first of its kind in the UK, Vertigo consists of small 600mm x 300mm slate like panels which can be quickly fixed onto battens, with the desired amount of insulation in between. The fibre cement slates perfectly adapt to the contours of the building, providing a second protective skin. The Vertigo slate range is very easy to fit and has three different installation methods to give more design flexibility and freedom.

Charlotte Hughes, product manager from Marley Eternit, adds: “Vertigo is still a relatively new product in the UK market but is already proving popular in the luxury private residential sector, particularly with developers and architects who want to create striking properties in urban environments. As a lightweight material, it is ideal for adding aesthetic interest to timber frame buildings like this one at William Mews. In fact, using Vertigo with a block and timber frame can be 15% lighter than a traditional brick and block system.”

Available in eight different colours from Anthracite to Terracotta, Vertigo slates can be used to create beautiful, distinctive and elegant vertical cladding solutions for a full range of building types. Perfect continuity between the roof and facade can be achieved by using Vertigo in combination with Marley Eternit’s Birkdale or Rivendale fibre cement roof slates.

Vertigo also boasts superb sustainability credentials, helping to achieve environmental credits with a ‘very good’ BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing accreditation and its environmental impact is easily reviewed with its own Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Fibre cement also offers sustainability benefits throughout its whole life cycle, as it can be fully recycled at the end of its use. Waste fibre cement can be ground down and used to replace limestone and shale in clinker production, the essential ingredients for Portland cement.

For more information or design advice, please visit or call Marley Eternit on 01283 722588.
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