Britain's trade association for the aluminium industry has teamed with the country's top-ranked university for the built environment to drive sustainability deeper into the construction industry.

ALFED already has an array of knowledge partners, including the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, The Welding Institute and six leading universities, including Coventry and Warwick.

Such collaborations help its members identify new sectors, technologies, market trends and innovative uses of aluminium to grow their business and create employment and wealth.

Now University College London's (UCL) world-renowned Bartlett School of Architecture has joined that high-profile list after signing an MoU with ALFED. The only school of architecture in this collaborative programme.

CEO Tom Jones is understandably delighted, as he believes the new partnership is a key moment in his organisation's efforts to put aluminium at the forefront of Design & Build projects in the housing, manufacturing, leisure and other major sectors.

“Covid has given sustainability its rightful place at the top of the political and economic agenda here and worldwide, and aluminium is one of the planet's most sustainable materials,” he says.

“It's strong, lightweight, flexible, versatile, easy to recycle, and can lower energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across a huge range of applications, from spectacle frames and vehicles to roofs and green buildings.

“We wanted to work more closely with the built environment sector, and it's a tribute to its bold design concepts and innovative use of materials that our new partner is known worldwide simply as 'The Bartlett'.

The Bartlett has been rated the best place in the UK, and the second best place in the world, to study architecture and the built environment by QS World Rankings 2021.

The discussions which led to the establishment of a strategic collaborative partnership were led by Prof Michael Stacey and Dr Christopher Leung.

“The MoU aims to support the use of aluminium within construction, further advance our knowledge of the metal and promote excellence in design,” says Jones.

“The Bartlett's pioneering work in design thinking with sustainable materials is well-known, and this relationship will be of significant benefit to ourselves as a research-led university in both teaching programmes and academic as well as practice-based research.”

Image: The Hive
The Hive designed by Wolfgang Buttress, fabricated from aluminium in Yorkshire, UK Expo Pavilion in Milan and now permanently at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. London. It is an exemplar of sustainability, because of its focus on key pollinators, bees and it was designed for disassembly and can be fully recycled if it is ever no longer required. Image courtesy of Michael Stacey Architects.