Ensign – a masterful choice for new-age development at Glasgow School of Art

“We aim for a building in complementary contrast to Charles Rennie Mackintosh's 1909 Glasgow School of Art - forging a symbiotic relation in which each structure heightens the integral qualities of the other.”


These were the words of American architect Steven Holl at the time when a vociferous debate followed criticism of his avant garde designs for the new five-story Glasgow School of Art extension, residing exactly opposite Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterful 100-year-old school of art building. Initially, the very modern and striking diagrams by Holl were described as ‘cartoonlike’, the surface choices of glass ‘monotonous’, and the external volumes as ‘clumsy’. Thankfully, Glasgow City Planning Committee eventually approved Holl’s design and work on the £50m project commenced on site in 2011. Selected for the below ground drainage system was the acclaimed Ensign range from iron technology leader Saint-Gobain PAM UK, part of leading materials group Saint-Gobain.


Jim Burns of Saint-Gobain PAM UK comments: “Strength and security were key factors in the specification of our cast iron Ensign drainage system for installation under the footprint of this exciting new-age development. Whilst Ensign is a system for the modern world, it retains all the proven traditional properties and benefits of cast iron. The below ground Ensign drain range was specified by Arup,  and installed by sub-contractors civil engineer Millennium Groundworks and part by Cida Construction. The main contractor is Sir Robert McAlpine.”


Ensign systems consist of pipes and fittings from 50-600mm diameter for above ground applications, and 100, 150-600mm diameter for below ground. Ensign can be connected by cast iron mechanical joints or push-fit joints, for both above and below ground applications.


The only drainage system tested and kitemark approved to BS EN 877, Ensign offers specifiers, contractors and installers a fit-and-forget solution which outperforms all other materials. Ensign combines all the proven material properties of cast iron - unrivalled in terms of fire resistance, acoustic qualities, strength and longevity - with installation time savings validated by a study by the BRE.

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