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Fully bonded structural arch with hidden stainless steel lintels

Reinforced Brick Cladding

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Bekynton Field is the largest new development at Eton College since it was founded.

The £19 million development includes 40 new classrooms for modern languages, economics and politics, as well as a lecture theatre and exhibition space.

It features conservation-grade brickwork as well as stonework features and more than 80 brick arches.

Designed by architect Michael Simpson of John Simpson Architects & Partners Ltd in the neoclassical style, it is one of the few areas of the College that required renewal rather than conservation and was designed to blend in with the historic environment. The main contractor was Feltham Construction with the bricklaying undertaken by Lee Marley. Bulmer were commissioned by Feltham's Technical Consultant Ian Gilmore who had not been able to get satisfactory responses from any of the tendering brick suppliers or brick cutters.

Feltham Construction commissioned Bulmer Brick Cutting to produce 28 of the more complicated arches in a total of 88 arches for three buildings.  The brief was to replicate a ‘thick wall’ appearance while working in a thin wall building with a cavity and structural frame behind.

Every masonry component was mechanically secured as well as epoxy resin bonded in position. Bulmer Brick Cutting commissioned Exescodo Design Ltd to develop the detailed drawings required for approval and manufacture.

For all these arches, individual brick voussoirs were machine cut to a tight tolerance, bonded into fabricated laser cut and welded stainless steel trays and pointed and delivered for onsite assembly into the completed arches. The stainless steel lintels and backing trays were fabricated by Harvey Steel lintels. Polystyrene formers were supplied for the on site installation by Cordek Ltd.

The arches shown above and to the left form a vaulted walk-through between two of the new buildings at the college. Lower left is shown a link arch in red brick. This is to the left of the entrance to the walk-through shown above.

This double arch was the first to be commissioned.  It comprises an inner segmental concave arch, with an outer flat segmental arch incorporating a concave soffit.  Each pre-fabricated voussoir unit was formed from bespoke bricks of large dimension and accurate curved faces (1), cut to a very high tolerance to match the curves in two directions. The voussoir units were bonded into stainless steel backing trays and pre-pointed in lime mortar. The steel trays were then back filled with concrete before delivery to site for installation on the purpose made laser profiled formers.

Special brick shapes by WH Collier Ltd, Marks Tey, Essex

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