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Grimshaw completes £180m energy-from-waste facility

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Grimshaw Architects has completed this £180 million power plant in Great Blakenham, Suffolk

The 9,900m2 energy-from-waste facility, which turns household waste into electricity, also includes offices and a visitor centre.

The large energy plant has been designed to balance industry, nature and community with what the practice described as a ‘calm, ordered appearance’.

Taking inspiration from Suffolk’s skies, the scheme’s large boiler hall is clad in a double layer skin with a semi-transparent inner that diffuses light and softens the building’s appearance.

Landscaping at the front of the building, which is yet to be completed, will provide a woodland and wildflower meadow.

The facility will process 269,000 tonnes of waste per year generating electricity for approximately 30,000 homes.

Grimshaw partner, Kirsten Lees, said: ‘We are very pleased to have delivered a scheme that complements the Suffolk landscape and is set to engage meaningfully with the local community. Our practice has a rich heritage of designing industrial buildings, and we believe good design should play a vital role in refining these types of projects. We have enjoyed working with the team at SUEZ who saw the intrinsic value in creating a scheme that draws in visitors through its inspiring and inclusive design.’

Paul Leighton, plant manager from SUEZ, added: ‘The Suffolk energy-from-waste facility shows that an industrial building can complement its surroundings through innovative and sensitive design. SUEZ is pleased to have worked with Grimshaw who understood and overcame the challenges of building an energy-from-waste plant in Suffolk.’

Project data

Location Great Blakenham, Suffolk
Type of project energy-from-waste facility
Client SUEZ environnement (formerly SITA UK)
Architect Grimshaw
Landscape architect Land Use Consultants (LUC)
Planning consultant RPS
Structural engineer TATA Steel Projects
M&E consultant RPS/TATA Steel Projects
Quantity surveyor Lagan Construction
Planning supervisor RPS
Main contractor Lagan Construction/CNIM (joint venture)
Funding Private Finance Initiative
Contract duration 24 Months
Gross internal floor area 9,900m2
Form of contract and/or procurement Engineering Procurement Construction
Total cost £180 million
Environmental target BREEAM Excellent

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