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Seasons greetings 2022

Sluishuis Amsterdam | end of year brochure | Sorba Projects 2022

Seasons greetings 2022

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Thames Tideway tunnel project | London

Thames Tideway | Chelsea embankment | Sorba Projects

Thames Tideway | London

Update Thames Tideway

The first column is in place!

As you can read here, this is part of the new sewer system in London.

And apart from its practical function as a ventilation shaft, it is also a work of art.

The use of bronze made it a special job for the engineers and Sorba to place this object.

The photos of the production and the placement show the path from design to final product.

On to the next column!

If you would like to read more about the Thames Tideway project now, you can do so here:


Depot Boijmans van Beuningen | Winnaar Glasaward 2021

Depot Boijmans van Beuningen winner of Glasaward 2021

On 16 September, the time had come to present the Glas Award 2021……
During an online live event, all nominees were extensively introduced.

After the presentation of the innovation award and the talent award, the announcement of the Glaw Award 2021 was finally made.
Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen has won!

For this Depot, Sorba performed the project management, engineering (technical facade development), assembly and installation of the complete mirror facade and unique “bus doors”.

You can read more about these developments in these articles:

Double-curved mirrored glass panels,
Hanging unique “bus doors”,
New icon in Rotterdam

Engineering bureau ABT bv and architectural bureau MVRDV received this prestigious award presented by Maxime Verhagen.

Update refurbishment University Campus | Luton

Luton Refurbishment Sorba

Update refurbishment Luton

Following the fire in a residential tower block a few years ago, fire safety regulations in the UK have been significantly changed and tightened. As you will have read in the January 2021 newsletter, Sorba UK has been commissioned to renovate three towers on the University of Bedfordshire campus in Luton.

Safety first

Extensive research was carried out into how to improve fire safety in these residential towers. In the end, it was necessary to completely remove the existing cladding because it did not meet the new requirements. For Sorba, this meant that an entirely new facade construction had to be made, from the inside to the outside. And, of course, entirely according to the new fire safety requirements.

In the past few months, a lot of hard work has gone into equipping all the towers with the new materials.  Many square metres of new cladding on the inside, insulation and barriers and finally a finish with Rockwool’s non-combustible facade cladding. And now it’s almost time for delivery. All the experience and knowledge we have gained over the years in bringing this project to a successful conclusion gives us the confidence that we are ready for the next renovation projects.

Farrington Station in Rail Construction News

Sorba Projects | Farringdon Station

Farringdon Station Redevelopment

This month Rail construction News has a nice feature on Farringdon Station, part of the Elizabeth Line . In the attached link below you will find a 4 page article on this project.

Sorba Projects | Farringdon Station | Rail Construction News

More information on the projects of the Elizabeth Line projects you can find here.

Silver Opening Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

Sorba Projects | Spiegelgevel Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen | Rotterdam

Silver Opening Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

The new icon of the Rotterdam skyline through its unique mirror façade engineered and executed by Sorba

The silver opening of Art Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen adds a new icon to the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The unique design by architect Winy Maas, MVRDV, included the spherical mirror façade. A unique challenge and great addition to the portfolio of Sorba.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s new art depot is unique in the world, because of its function but also in design. This is the first art depot that will be accessible to the public, but its design is also unique. The depot is built in the public Museumpark and therefore architect Winy Maas, MVRDV, wanted to compensate for the space the building would use. He has done this by making a spherical and reflective building, through which the park and the building can strengthen each other. Main contractor BAM asked Sorba for the development, production, and installation of the spherical mirror façade.

Engineering double curved mirror panels

The scheme for the mirror façade of the Depot was so innovative and challenging that only a few other companies dared to take on the project. “At Sorba we want these complicated projects to keep innovating.” tells Jan Maarten Lieverdink, Sorba Sales Manager in The Netherlands. “We showed this in complicated schemes like Public Transit Terminal Arnhem and London Crossrail Projects.”  The biggest challenge for the project was the combination of a completely spherical façade and the use of glass for the mirror effect.

The spherical shape of the building made it hard to develop a 3D model, since you don’t have any reference points to work from. Hereafter the façade was divided in individual panels with the maximum size to minimize the effect of the junctures in the mirror. Eventually a division was made into 26 rows with 64 panels each. In total 1664 panels had to be produced, of which each of the 26 rows has a difference in curvature.

The production of the glass panels was a challenge, because the panels had to be curved horizontally as well as vertically and the mirror coating had to be added. The requirements that Sorba had put on the production of these panels could only be met in China. “Our project manager has visited China regularly for quality checks and an onsite external quality officer was appointed. This way we made sure we could guarantee our quality standard.”

South of the Depot is a Medical Centre, therefore the southside of the façade is covered with a matte foil. This matte cloud is installed to prevent reflection and brightness towards the hospital.

Construction of the façade

Sorba started on the structural concrete base of the building. At first anchors were installed in the concrete, the measurements had to be based from the 3D model, because you cannot measure accurately on a spherical shape. After placing stainless steel consoles on the anchors, the façade was insulated. The lower sections had to be filled out with a mineral wool to be able to follow the round shape of the building. After the insulation, the hooks are installed on which the glass panels will be installed. These consist of a plate with 4 adjustable hooks, that can be adjusted horizontally and vertically to perfectly align all the panels and junctures.

On the back of the glass panels Sorba installed black aluminium frames. These frames are glued to the glass under specialized conditions. With this frame the glass mirror panels are installed to the façade. “Because the city of Rotterdam requires a safety measure for glued panels, little black hands are installed. These keep the panel in place in case the glue wouldn’t hold on the panels.

Insulated Glass and Doors

The windows and doors of the Depot are unique as well. These follow the same spherical shape as the rest of the façade. The windows are fitted with special 3D curved insulated glass panels. In total there are 186 of these insulated glass panels. On the lower levels the resistance of this glass is WK4, and on the higher levels we used WK3 glass. Part of these window panels are transparent instead of reflective. The transition between the reflective and transparent parts is made gradual.

In the façade there is a total of 8 doors: 3 double doors and 5 singular doors. These doors are made to disappear when closed. To make this possible the team developed, together with Walasco, special steel frames for these doors. The doors will be recessed into the façade when closed and open like bus doors, first outside and then to the sides. This way there are no visible hinges, so it seems like the façade is continuous.

Grand silver opening of Art Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

The Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is ready for the silver opening, on the 25th of September 2020,. In the weekend following the opening the public can admire the empty depot inside and out. After this weekend, the Depot will close its doors for a year, before opening again in the Fall of 2021. Until then, we will have to make do with the mirror façade of this new icon.

The interview with architect Winy Maas about the development of the spherical mirror facade, you can find here

Unique doors for the spherical mirror façade

Unique doors for the spherical mirror façade

The façade of the Art Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is almost finished. Most of the insulation glass for the windows has been installed and it is now time to install the doors. The doors are cladded with the same reflective glass panels and will disappear in the façade when closed. At Sorba we develop specialized doors to make this happen. The first door was placed on the 19th of march.

The Doors

The doors that are specially developed by Sorba consist of big steel frames and the insulation glass panels. First the steel frames have been insulated and the necessary covers were installed. Subsequently the steel frames have been lifted on top of the glass panels and glued to each other. How the building is shaped makes it that the bottom panels have the biggest curvature. This gives the doors an unusual shape.

On site the doors are placed into place. This is challenging because of the unusual shape and size of the doors. The doors are approximately 4 metres high and 2,3 metres wide. They weigh about 1000 kg, which makes it even harder to find the right equipment. Aside from the size are these doors also very fragile, because of the glass panels. The first door is installed on March 19th and we are very pleased with the results. When closed, the door really disappears in the façade and make it look like the façade continuous uninterrupted.

Truck Lock

The largest doors in the depot are from the truck lock on the north side of the building. This truck lock consists of two larger doors. These function just like bus doors. When opening they first slide to the front and subsequently to the side. Most doors consist of 2 glass panels, but the truck lock doors consist of 3 panels. This makes them 5,6 metres high and weigh over 1500 kg.

Elizabeth line stations Central London

Metrostations London Farringdon Sorba
Metrostations London Farringdon Sorba
Whitechapel London Sorba
Bond Street London Sorba
Bond Street London Sorba
Woolwich London Sorba
Woolwich London Sorba
Metrostations London Farringdon Sorba
Metrostations London Farringdon SorbaWhitechapel London SorbaBond Street London SorbaBond Street London SorbaWoolwich London SorbaWoolwich London SorbaMetrostations London Farringdon Sorba

Elizabeth line stations Central London

Sorba is in the final stage of completing many of the stations fit-out contracts awarded to them by the client “CRL” and its contractual partners. It has been a privilege to work on so many schemes at once and using many different types of bespoke materials, all designed and supplied by Sorba. In these projects our in-house design teams have faced many challenges, especially with the development of the innovations. Our engineers however have used their experience throughout the whole process with excellent results.

Sorba then engineered, tested, manufactured and finally installed various components on site. During this process Sorba’s different project teams were always thinking of new ways to help take these prestigious stations schemes through to reality.

We used a wide variety of cladding materials; Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete (GFRC), Bronze, Brass, Copper, Glass, Aluminium and Steel.

We also developed several bespoke systems for the new stations; Glazing, Louvres, security doors and gates, specialist GFRC cladding, and sand cast bronze cladding

Want to see more of Sorba’s Elizabeth Line projects?

International open BIM Award 2018 for Pontsteiger Amsterdam

Award BIM Pontsteiger Amsterdam Sorba

International open BIM Award 2018 for Pontsteiger Amsterdam

The Pontsteiger Project in Amsterdam has won the building Smart International Award in the category Construction. This award was given to the Pontsteiger project because all the partners involved have developed the building completely according to BIM-standards. Sorba has partaken in the Pontsteiger project with the development of the 70 metre high outdoor ceiling of this unique residential complex.

With BIM different co-operating parties can work together with 3D-models to align the different components. This way the different partners can take into account the work of others to prevent any problems and additional costs. The Pontsteiger project proves that working with the open BIM-standards works and pays off in the long term. That’s why the main contractors Dura Vermeer and De Nijs nominated the Pontsteiger project for the building Smart International Awards. For the 2018 awards 80 projects from all over the world were nominated. The Pontsteiger was awarded with the prize in the category Construction.

Take a look at our portfolio to see more of this unique new landmark in Amsterdam!

New Trade Fair Hall Messe Frankfurt

Messehalle 12 von oben | Frankfurt | Sorba projects

New Trade Fair Hall Messe Frankfurt

After two years of construction the new trade fair hall 12 of the Messe Frankfurt is completed. The new hall is 248 metres long, 118 metres wide and 30 metres high, which gives it a gigantic façade. The design from Kadawittfeldarchitektur asked for a complex diamond pattern. Sorba has found the solution for this because our engineers have the know how to develop special parts and techiniques. The solution; crossing special aluminium profiles  to shape the diamond pattern.

A lot of drawing and calculations had to be done to get the façade ready. Due to crossing of the aluminium profiles a lot of forces are putting a strain on the construction. These forces were calculated according to 3D statics and according to the FEA model. To make sure the structure can withstand the forces on the material. The façade had to be put up a mere skeleton of concrete and steel, therefore we used heavy stainless steel consoles to hold the weight of the façade. Thereafter trapezoidal sheeting was used as a background for the blank anodized aluminium profiles. The aluminium profiles had to be specially developed and made for this project because of the integrated slide nut system to be able to install the profiles with absolute precision. In this façade over 50 kilometres of aluminium profiles were used. One third of these profiles was unique and had to be produced piece by piece. The façade was finished with black cassette sheeting with integrated grills at ground level.

Aside this extensive façade, Sorba also worked on the cladding for the parking garage, elevated walkway and canopy. For the garage white Alpolic was used. The elevated walkway and canopy were cladded with 3000 square metres black and white flat sheets. The canopy and elevated walkway overlap and are designed with smooth curves. To precisely measure and produce the double curves in this cladding the design was drawn entirely in 3D. Thereafter the sheets had to be bent. Part of the sheets was bent cold on site and the double curved sheets had to be rolled in to shape in the factory.

In short, this project had a complex design and a huge amount of material, which all was perfectly managed by our project managers and engineers. The anodized aluminium in diamond pattern give the façade sharp edges and lines, or as the mayor of Frankfurt put it at the opening ceremony of the hall; “A building with a spectacular appearance and power”

Innovative solar design Solarix launched at Kuijpers building

Studio Solarix Sorba Kuijipers Gevel met zonne-energie
Studio Solarix Sorba Kuijipers Gevel met zonne-energie
Kuijpers Pand buitenzijde nacht | Sorba Projects
Kuijpers Pand buitenzijde | Sorba Projects
Studio Solarix Sorba Kuijipers Gevel met zonne-energieKuijpers Pand buitenzijde nacht | Sorba ProjectsKuijpers Pand buitenzijde | Sorba Projects

Innovative solar design Solarix launched at Kuijpers building

Beauty and brains combined in world premiere of Dutch solar design façade

Today the innovative, energy-producing design façade of Dutch team Studio Solarix has been launched at the Kuijpers building in the Eindhoven region. The sustainable design demonstrates a seamless blend of solar energy, interactivity and design. This accomplishment is the result of an intense cooperation between Studio Solarix, Kuijpers, Kameleon Solar and Sorba. This project was made possible thanks to support from SPARK Campus and the city of Helmond.

Helmond marks the first application of the start-up’s integrated concept on this scale. Studio Solarix is a collaboration of artist and designer Reinier Bosch and architect Marloes van Heteren, whose ambition is to upscale the principle of ‘solar design’ worldwide. Both founders received a Dutch Design Award for the Solarix design to make buildings more sustainable, connective and appealing.

Aukje Kuijpers, CEO of Kuijpers and 2018 Dutch Businesswoman of the Year, immediately saw the potential of Solarix and adopted their concept as launching customer. Kuijpers is a national service partner, engineer and designer of technical solutions for buildings. Sorba’s knowledge and experience in façade construction is what Sorba connected to this project. After engineering and production of the cladding and construction Sorba installed the façade on the office building in Helmond.
The Solarix concept, a high-design solar tile, enables energy production on the façade whilst also enhancing the identity and appearance of the building as a whole. This combination answers the challenges of the energy transition with a practical, yet smart and beautiful approach and won Studio Solarix the 2016 Solar Challenge during the Dutch Design Week. Solarix’s practical and elegant essence is precisely what makes Dutch design unique in the world.

Photo: Marielle van Uitert

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