Our client wanted to build a new community for home-grown high-tech and green innovation start-ups and private businesses with similar interests. At the heart of the new mixed-use development would be a landmark building to embody its would-be tenants’ values of innovation, collaboration and sustainability.
We pulled out all the stops to include practical sustainable features, using experience from previous projects and working closely with suppliers to push performance to the max. Technologies include solar thermal collectors to provide hot water, photovoltaics integrated into glazing which produce electricity at the same time as reducing unwanted solar heat gain, rainwater harvesting and natural ventilation.
Floor plate and façade designs maximise natural lighting. Acoustic surveys were used to determine whether occupants and noise-sensitive equipment would be disturbed by outdoor hubbub if windows were opened in summer – the result being mechanical ventilation of the ground and first floor levels, and natural ventilation for the upper storeys.
Sustainably-minded businesses were also lured with a wildflower roof and an eye-catching seven-storey living wall – a vertical garden supporting wildlife and biodiversity – that also provides thermal insulation. External pavements used stone quarried from the site’s foundations. Rainwater gardens reduce surface water run-off and provide another space for the building’s users to enjoy.
The building is already a major hit. Businesses that have set up in the Core have created new jobs and will contribute millions of pounds to the local economy.