AJ Specification case study: pastel-coloured terracotta baguettes unify three separate structures in Cambridge
The Welding Institute (TWI), developed at the site from 1946 as a government research institute, has grown into a world-leading organisation dealing with joining technology at every scale.
Eric Parry Architects’ brief was to masterplan the site, including the context for the listed Abington Hall, creating a 20,000m2 facility of varied use and allowing the demolition of numerous outmoded facilities.
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The new TWI facilities are housed in three buildings:
Building One contains the reception and the library, as well as the Granta Conference Centre, a restaurant and café, and also the training centre and management accommodation, including a new boardroom.
Building Two is dedicated to teaching laboratories and administrative accommodation for the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) a state-of-the-art postgraduate engineering facility, and includes shared laboratories with TWI.
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Building Three is a world-class testing facility with associated specialist laboratories, welder training workshop and office accommodation.
They are all joined by the Street, a 135m-long route that acts as a physical and social hub between old and new buildings. On its eastern edge is a café overlooking the landscape, and at its western edge is a service yard and the engineering hall.
Eric Parry Architects
Level one plan
Level two plan
Start on site October 2013
Completion March 2015
Gross internal floor area 20,840m²
Form of contract Design and build
Construction cost £42.5 million (including demolitions, enabling works and landscaping)
Construction cost per m2 £1,980
Architect Eric Parry Architects
Client The Welding Institute
Structural engineer Glanville Consultants
M&E consultant Hoare Lea
Quantity surveyor AECOM
Services engineer Hoare Lea
Landscape architects Land Use Consultants (design), Josephine Morrison (implementation)
Fire consultant Hoare Lea
Acoustics Hoare Lea
Project manager Glanville
CDM coordinator Glanville
Approved building inspector MLM
Main contractor SDC Builders
CAD software used Bentley MicroStation and AECOsim
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The Welding Institute was developed to achieve exceptional levels of sustainability through optimisation of the buildings’ orientation, U-Values that exceed the Building Regulations by 43 per cent, air tightness that exceeds Building Regulations by 50-55 per cent, and low-carbon systems.
Passive design analysis was key to improving energy performance. Particular attention was given to façade design, orientation and spacing to find a compromise between annual daylight levels and summer solar gain.
The building fabric improves upon the Part L 2010 Building Regulations, and achieves a high standard of air tightness with figures below 5m³/m².hr.
High-performance LED luminaires have been used throughout. The lighting is linked to passive infrared detectors and photocells for presence and absence detection and daylight linking controls via a fully addressable lighting control system.
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The development meets more than 25 per cent of its regulated energy demand through on-site low and zero carbon technologies. The high-efficiency combined heat and power (CHP) unit and photovoltaic (PV) panels provide heat and electricity, reducing the reliance upon grid-supplied electricity. Extensive sub-metering has been installed to record the buildings’ energy performance.
Active approaches taken with mechanical design include high-efficiency condensing boilers; central air handling units for mechanically ventilated spaces, incorporating thermal wheels capable of up to 70 per cent recovery of extract air heat energy; heat recovery installed with the variable refrigerant flow system within each building; and roof-mounted stack units assisted by low-level air intake which naturally ventilate the Street.
Meter readings for electricity, gas, water and solar panels show reduced carbon emissions compared with data from the thermal model developed for the buildings for the Part L analysis; and that metered electricity output generated from the PV panels is better than design-stage calculations.
Hoare Lee Engineers
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Terracotta Baguettes NBK Ceramik, 100 x 50 x 1,500mm unglazed, six colours
Windows and Doors Schueco, Andoised Finish
Anodised Aluminium United Anodisers, Anolok 543
Rainscreen board behind baguettes Marley Eternit – Tectiva Board, T20 pebble finish
Terrazzo floor Quiligotti, 597 x 597mm tiles: from 42mm
Internal glazed office partitions Planet Partitions, Various
Ceiling tiles Armstrong ceilings, 600 x 600mm suspended ceiling
Feature lighting iguzzini lighting, Various
Reception Desk Isomi – Mono, Various
Roof lights Luxcrete, Roof Lights product ref R254/150
Catering Equipment C+C Catering Equipment, Various