John Farquharson Partnership LLP has specified an innovative vertical fibre cement slate system for an exclusive development of rooftop penthouses in East London.

The Vertigo fibre cement slates from Marley Eternit have been used to create a contemporary facade for Damien Court’s eight duplex penthouses, which have all been constructed on the rooftop of the existing four storey apartment building in Whitechapel.

Raj Saund from John Farquharson Partnership, who acted as structural engineers and architectural detailers on the project, specified the Vertigo fibre cement slates alongside Marley Eternit’s Cedral lap. He comments: “The choice of materials and colours is intentionally restrained with a sophisticated palette of grey and timber to achieve a timeless quality finish.

“We were looking to create a slate aesthetic for the facade and when I saw the Vertigo system, I thought it looked amazing because of the horizontal planking. It complemented the timber aesthetic of the Cedral panels, which were also from Marley Eternit and it was much easier to source all of the facade materials from one manufacturer. We also had a lot of assistance from its team, including technical advice and samples, although the Vertigo system itself was actually very easy to use.”

The first of its kind in the UK, Vertigo consists of small 600mm by 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.

Garry Clark from AJE Facades comments: “This was the first time we had used the Vertigo system and we fitted it using the panel installation method to get the horizontal geometric precision desired by the architect. We were impressed by how quick and easy it was to fix and it is a great solution for residential buildings like this.”

Charlotte Hughes, product manager from Marley Eternit, adds: “Vertigo is becoming a popular choice for apartment buildings like this one where it offers a striking, yet understated finish. The invisible fixings and panels of the Vertigo system give sharp clean horizontal lines, which complement the vertical timber aesthetic of the Cedral. This combination of slate and timber gives a distinctive, high specification finish to these unique penthouses, creating a contemporary contrast against the existing 1930s building below.

“Using both Cedral and Vertigo will also give a quality, maintenance free finish for many years to come, which is particularly important given the location of the penthouses at the top of a four storey building, where remedial work is costly. As it is made from fibre cement, Cedral helps to reduce whole life costs because unlike real timber, it won’t rot and is low maintenance. The Vertigo slates create a robust, durable and weatherproof finish, giving the penthouses a protective skin against the elements.”

Lightweight, weather and temperature resistant and 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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