HIMACS inspires students on university campus

  • 4 Apr 2024

Studying at university is educational and inspiring, both in lectures and outside of them. The campus and surroundings can be just as informative as the lessons taught within, so when it came to designing a new building for the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield, HIMACS was the perfect choice for the wall cladding.

The Drum is an integral part of The Wave, a 16,600 square metre building for the Faculty of Social Sciences. Designed by HLM Architects to meet future growth demands to the year 2035 and provide a world-class, highly sustainable environment to encourage collaboration while enhancing the faculty’s reputation for excellence in teaching and research, The Wave is a mini-campus that has brought together faculties from 18 separate buildings into one cohesive space, with the Drum at its core.


The Drum is a circular lecture block comprising three levels with lecture theatres inside, surrounded by mezzanines with tables and chairs for study or socialising and topped with a glass roof to let the light flood in. The Drum is fully clad in 500 sheets of HIMACS solid surfacing in Alpine White S028. Over 1,300 individual pieces were thermoformed for the design by fabricators 3G Joinery & Shopfitting, with over 80 different radii to create a sleek and seamless look and feel. 

Amy Hipwell, Interior Designer at HLM Architects, explains why they selected HIMACS for the project…

“There were a number of key considerations when choosing the material that would clad the Drum within the atrium of The Wave building,” she says.

“The material needed to be durable and low maintenance with the ability to be curved and appear seamless. The Drum is a central feature of the atrium and is not only visible from every area within the building but it’s also accessible from every level.

“The concept for the interior focused on well-being and the use of natural materials. The chosen material for the Drum needed to contrast against these softer finishes.

“Due to the amount of daylight through the atrium roof, it was important that the colour wouldn’t be affected over time. It became clear that solid surfacing was the right material, as it would stand the test of time and still look impressive in years to come.”

Perfect choice

HIMACS in Alpine White S028 is the perfect choice for the Drum’s cladding, as HIMACS is renowned worldwide for its spectacular facades. As it can be thermoformed, it’s ideal for circular buildings and curvaceous projects and demonstrates beautifully just how inspirational truly exceptional architecture can be.

With its innnate flexibility and special characteristics, HIMACS is the perfect choice for university buildings, business premises, offices and headquarters. HIMACS is hardwearing, durable and fire resistant as well as exceptionally hygienic and resistant to wear and tear, scratches, stains and UV light.

Its non-porous surface makes it extremely quick and easy to clean while its thermoformable properties also allow it to be moulded into any shape and size. The absence of visible seams also ensures a seamless finish that prevents dirt, bacteria and viruses building up on the surface. This makes HIMACS a Solid Surface material with unbeatable hygienic and clean air properties, guaranteed by certifications that comply with LGA, NSF international standard and Greenguard.

Photo Credit: Martine Hamilton Knight

Information about the project design

Project name: The Drum at The Wave, Sheffield University

Location: Sheffield, England

Designer and Architect: HLM Architects

Fabricator: 3G Joinery & Shopfitting Ltd

Material: HIMACS in Alpine White S028 www.lxhausys.com/eu@himacseurope

HIMACS Supplier: James Latham www.lathamtimber.co.uk 

Photos: Martine Hamilton-Knight Photography/HLM Architects/Vox Multimedia

HIMACS elements: Cladding for the Drum within the atrium of The Wave building

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