Stoke on Trent City Council Headquarters

The Project

Stoke on Trent City Council have created a new landmark for the city in the form of a new headquarters building, which will also incorporate public spaces. To read more and see our latest video - click here

The vibrant glazing used defines the building’s whole aesthetic – a striking modern landmark that references the manufacturing history of Stoke-on-Trent.
Pilkington United Kingdom Limited’s cutting-edge glazing system, fabricated off-site, combined with bespoke screen printing, created a kaleidoscope of colour inspired by world-famous potter Clarice Cliff.
Solar control coatings and integrated ventilation mean the glazing also helps regulate the climate inside the building.
No other building material would have been able to achieve the architect’s vision for the project while also ensuring an excellent experience for occupants, and the quality of our products and the innovative way we work were key.
The designers of the new headquarters for Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the building that will be the heart of a new leisure and cultural quarter known as Smithfield, wanted to create a landmark that combined modern design with references to the city’s rich history of pottery manufacturing.

The resulting building features bright, multi-colour glazed façades that reference the work of world-renowned Stoke-based potter Clarice Cliff, now considered iconic of the art deco period. Five colours: green, blue, red, yellow and white, all drawn from the colour pallet of Cliff’s designs, are arranged along all of the façades in a geometric pattern reminiscent of the potter’s distinct style.

For the glazing, the top priority was to ensure that the colours were as vibrant as possible.

Standard practice when creating coloured double glazing units is to apply the colour to face four on the inner pane of glass. However, internal reflections within the glazed units can reduce the vibrancy of the colour.

Instead, the colours were digitally screen printed onto face two. The printing and construction of the insulating glass units (IGUs) was carried out at our Plyglass facility in Alfreton, Derbyshire using state-of-the art digital screen printing technology.

The bright appearance of the colours was enhanced further by using Pilkington Optiwhite™ true low-iron glass for the outer pane, which has an incredibly high level of clarity and therefore allows the colours to be seen as close as possible to their true form.

Finally, a layer of ceramic paint was applied to the inside of the coloured panes to ensure they were completely opaque, minimising dilution of the colours as a result of light leaving the interior of the building.

The units that make up the façade were individually custom designed and manufactured to deliver the required pattern. The irregular placement of colours across the façade meant that few units were identical to each other, so they had to be installed in a very specific order.

An advanced modular framing system supplied by German manufacturer Schüco was used, which allowed the façade to be constructed off-site in 3m by 1.5m sections.

The architects wanted the colours to not only be as bright as possible, but also to physically project out of the façade on three sides of the building, lending them further emphasis. This was achieved by building a step into the modular system whereby the coloured glass stood forward of the clear panes.

The jigsaw-like installation was further complicated by the inclusion of electronic-opening vents to allow occupants to control the temperature inside the building and the use of different levels of solar control coating on different parts of the façade. Again, this called for excellent organisation and close co-operation between Pilkington United Kingdom Limited as the glass manufacturer with the fabricator and on-site installer to ensure the process delivered each individual pane to its correct place on each of the façades.

Solar control

The south-facing units, which are more exposed to direct sunlight, used Pilkington Insulight™ Sun with a 60/33 specification while the north-facing sides, for which solar gain was less of an issue, used 70/40 – a glass that transmits more solar energy, but gives greater clarity.

The complexity of the façade was only practically achievable within the budget for the building thanks to the modular system and our organised computer-aided approach to manufacturing and on-site logistics.

At the front of the building on the ground floor there are double-height, single-unit windows that create a light and airy atrium space. At 4.6 metres in height, and spanning the width of the building, preventing overheating from excess sunlight was vital, so Pilkington Insulight™ Sun 40/22 was used for these units.

A total of 4,300sq m of glass was used in the building, 2,300sq m of it transparent and 2,000sq m featuring the screen-printed colours.

The new headquarters of Stoke-on-Trent City Council features a striking kaleidoscopic façade inspired by the work of one of the city’s best-known potters – art-deco ceramic artist Clarice Cliff. The vibrant vision of the architect has been turned into reality thanks to a cutting-edge glazing system from Pilkington United Kingdom Limited.

  Project ReferenceUK421_ProRef
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Project Details
Surface Area
4300 m2
Stoke on Trent
Opening Date
01 Sep 2015
Building Type
  • Public
  • Office Building
About the Architect/Installer
Aedas RHWL
FK Group, Altrincham
Benefit Led Categories
  • Solar Control
  • Thermal Insulation