The structural solution for the 4,200m² AMRC delivers a cost-effective and simple form, which complements the building-services strategy. The use of a steel braced-frame arrangement significantly reduces the size and weight of internal columns and removes the need to use moment connections within the structural frame. Stability is achieved through the diaphragm action of the oor slab and horizontal trusses in the roof, transferring lateral loads to braced bays located through the building. ETFE roofing and Kalwall cladding allow the penetration of daylight deep into the building and considerably reduce the need for artificial lighting. In addition to the ETFE roof areas, the exposed soffits of precast concrete planks work with the natural ventilation strategy, providing a surface that absorbs heat during the day and emits heat at night. Cell beams provide a means of distributing services along the slab soffits. An 86m-high wind turbine is the primary source of energy for the building. With an energy generation capability in excess of one million kWh per year, the turbine will help the AMRC building to achieve carbon neutrality and offer annual running-cost savings. A reversible ground-source heat pump uses some of this renewable electricity to provide low-grade hot water, which supplies the underoor heating system, as well as chilled water for cooling in summer.
Where mechanical ventilation and cooling are required in the laboratories, a displacement ventilation system will be used to minimise distribution losses and energy consumption. In addition, as part of the sustainable drainage system, rainwater harvesting will be used to collect a non-pofitable water supply, primarily for WC ushing.