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Manuel Nogueira set up AND Architects in 1997, and the practice has since completed a number of major projects for corporate and residential clients, Premiership football clubs and a hotel group. The practice views such diversity as its strength, with each project bringing to light ideas that can cross over into other schemes. AND Architects was shortlisted for the AJ Small Projects Awards in both 2004 and 2005, and was also shortlisted for the Young Architect of the Year Award in 2006.

Sustainability and energy conservation were considered for this scheme from the outset.

Planning requirements for this rural location in Essex initially drove the green agenda, but this was also embraced by the client. Often, sustainability, including the conservation of resources, takes a predictable route. But the building type and uniform accommodation of this scheme enabled AND Architects to consider a modular approach, which opened up many more opportunities such as:

? lightweight construction, including fewer materials, less waste, smaller foundations, lower lifting requirements, less on-site activity and embodied energy required for manufacture;

recycling - elements are reused and relocated;

short construction time, leading to reductions in use of energy during construction;

less transportation to site, cutting fuel use and reducing impact on the local environment;

outstanding sound and thermal qualities, with less energy use during the lifespan of the building; and whole life-cycle costs significantly lower than a traditional build, due to less energy used in maintenance and running of buildings.

By working closely with structural engineer Peter Dann and services engineer RYB: Konsul, it has been possible to use a modular approach without compromising design.

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