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Case Study

The Cube

Standing 70 meters tall, the golden facade shimmers with the multi-faceted, vibrant reflections of different shades of bronze. This distinctive appearance is made possible by Novelis J57S® batch-anodized aluminum in both natural and bronze shades.

Described by architect Ken Shuttleworth of MAKE Architects as the “jewel,” The Cube comprises a 17-story luxury apartment complex, 10,359 m2 of exclusive shops and offices, Birmingham’s first boutique hotel, and a panoramic rooftop restaurant.

The Cube received a Royal Institute of British Architects regional award in 2012.

City: Birmingham
Country: Great Britain
Products: Batch anodized aluminum J57S
Application: Facade cladding
Color: Natural and bronze

Thickness: 2 mm
Quantity: 18,000 m2
Architect: MAKE Architects
Installation: HAGA Metallbau

Aluminum Facade Gives Jewel Its Sparkle

An 18,000 m2 facade is covered in J57S anodized aluminum. The number of colored pre-anodized cubic aluminum facade panels totals 8,250, and assembly was done without any external scaffolding. In addition, an all-glass facade on one side extends floor to floor from the inner courtyard of The Cube. The decision to combine aluminum and glass not only ensures optimal light conditions, but from an environmental point of view it also saves energy.

Novelis J57S is specially designed for the demanding requirements of modern architectural applications. The chemical composition of the alloy is formulated to achieve a distinctive metallic appearance after anodizing. The aluminum can also be colored using either the immersion process or the electrolytic process with metal salt. Novelis applies very narrow tolerances to the J57S microstructure to ensure the best possible consistence for color and gloss after anodizing.

Quality Control

To ensure this consistency, the J57S manufacturing process has strict controls from the beginning of production to the end. There are defined quality assurance protocols that take place throughout. From the initial casting to the time it leaves the plant and all points in between, our product is subject to the expertise and precision of our Novelis team.

Casting parameters and pre-treatment are checked at the time of ingot production, then homogenization, degree of rolling and temperature control are verified during pre-heating and hot-rolling. This is followed by cold-rolling and intermediate annealing checks. Finally, flatness and dimensions are confirmed according to DIN EN 485-4, while mechanical properties are reviewed per DIN EN 485-2. Anodizing tests are performed on each coil before delivery, so uniformity of color and gloss is assured, even if mixing production lots.

Safe and Sustainable

The weather-resistant properties of anodized aluminum have been proven globally for both interior and exterior architectural projects. Durable and easy to maintain, the material is also non-flammable according to 96/603/EC and non-combustible according to DIN 4102.

In addition to its economic value, extreme durability and high resistance to weathering and corrosion, J57S aluminum is recyclable, adding to its environmental sustainability.