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The Bangor Recycling and Environmental Information Centre, opened by North Down Borough Council in June 2008, sets a new standard for innovative architectural design in the waste recycling sector. The design and function of the centre brings waste management into the 21st Century. Paul Griffith, Project Architect at Northern Ireland based Michael Whitley Architects says, “Our brief from North Down District Council was very clear. We were tasked with delivering the best quality Amenity Recycling Centre in the UK, if not in Europe. Changing the ‘image’ of the civic amenity site or ‘dump’ was paramount.

A fresh, new, clean approach to recycling
North Down Council is committed to driving up the level of waste recycling in order to reduce landfill. To do this we needed to change perceptions amongst the public. Our aim was to create a new recycling centre which would ‘delight’ users with a fresh, new and clean approach.”

What Michael Whitley Architects have created at Bangor does just that. With a semi-circular drive-through one-way traffic system, and
five colour coded, covered bays for easier waste segregation, it offers a user-friendly, accessible and clean experience. The public can use the facility to recycle a large range of household waste including paper, glass, cans, garden waste, appliances, plastic, scrap metal and textiles.“

Paul Griffith continues, “We needed to encourage users to come to the centre and spend the time required to segregate their waste, so we have made it an altogether higher quality recycling experience. The innovative and attractive design is vital to this, and using Rockpanel was of major importance in the success of our design.”

After undertaking considerable research to find products to support the design vision, and hearing positive reviews about Rockpanel from a number of colleagues within the building design business, Michael Whitely Architects decided to use Rockpanel Colours to colour code the canopies of the five recycling bays. This approach is effective both in its design and in practical terms, offering users shelter from the elements and enhancing their experience.

The Practice had never used Rockpanel before but we were immediately impressed with the wide range of colours available, over 100 in total, which have been used to great effect in the design approach.

Easy installation and durable in an industrial environment
Paul Griffith continues, “We were very impressed with the flexibility and easy to assemble nature of the product which required very low technology to install, even with the curving effect of the canopy. The panels were easily and quickly fixed to the battens with nails from a compressor gun. And because Rockpanel Colours is colourfast we had no concerns about its durability and maintenance in an industrial environment such as this.

Unbeatable ‘green’ characteristics
“Rockpanel’s ‘green’ characteristics are unbeat- able, and our brief was to deliver an environmen- tally sustainable facility which was friendly to the natural environment in its construction and life span. Rockpanel is made from sustainable board and is fully recyclable, so we were able to meet our own and our client’s drive for a ‘sustainable’ product approach to the design vision.”
Michael Whitley Architects were so impressed with Rockpanel’s characteristics that they also chose to use Rockpanel Colours in another environmental project, a Waste Transfer Station also in Bangor, and the Practice is now using the product in a number of projects in a range of sectors.

An inspired choice, there to be exploited
Paul Griffith concludes, “I would recommend Rockpanel with confidence to colleagues in the building design business. The product is there to be exploited. We have found it to be an inspired choice in achieving our design vision. We can ultimately be satisfied that we have met our own requirements to create a facility which works with the environment, and met the Civil Engineering Quality Assessment Standards set by Government.
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