Darwin Centre Phase One at the Natural History Museum - officially opened by HM Queen Elizabeth - features Burlington’s natural stone as rain screen cladding around the base plinth of the building.

Designed by the London office of architects, HOK International Limited, Darwin Centre Phase One is the first of two stages of developing opening the Museum’s collections and scientific research to the public. Visitors can take free behind the scenes tours to discover vast storerooms filled with 22 millions specimens held in spirit and meet scientists and experts as daily free events.

Burlington natural stone cladding was specified for the Darwin Centre Phase One as it refers to the slates that feature on the roof of the neighbouring and original, grade one listed Waterhouse museum building. Serving to embody clarity, coherence and consistency, the architecture of the Darwin Centre Phase One uses contemporary detailing to recreate the historic tradition of ‘architecture parlante’ – buildings whose external appearance refer to the activities taking place in side.

Working together with the transparent glass façade, sun tracking metal louvers and caterpillar-like inflated roof, the 20mm thick Burlington natural stone cladding was installed in various sizes to impart a random appearance and features a flame textured finish.

Darwin Centre Phase One symbolises the innovative marriage of visual quality and technical necessity to provide a flexible and sustainable facility for generations to come. In addition to an eight-storey storage area, chilled to below the flashpoint of alcohol, the building also features offices and laboratories where scientists can be seen at work. Separating the two is an atrium allowing the public access to the heart of the building.

Whether specified internally or externally, Burlington natural stone cladding is an ideal material due to its aesthetic beauty and the high levels of resistance it offers across numerous environmental conditions.

Available in five highly individual colours and with a range of smooth and textured finishes; it is a product that enables architects and designers to enhance both the interior and exterior appearance of a building using a classic finish. Clearly visible to both building occupants and passers-by, it provides a surface that will maintain its appearance with virtually no maintenance.

Its versatility and durability also make it equally at home whether used to provide the functional format of structural masonry or a form of wrap-around fabric that makes no reference to the underlying skin: it is also suitable for rain screen cladding.

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