New London Architecture

Net Zero in action - a tale of two projects

Friday 11 December 2020

David Taylor

David Taylor

Editor, NLQ

Architects and engineers behind two major London projects showed how the principles and practices they employed are bearing fruit in sustainable solutions and reduced carbon emissions.

Heyne Tillett Steel, TateHindle and AECOM took part in the first ‘Projects in Practice’ this week - a new NLA series aimed at showing how re-use and the use of low-carbon materials are pushing the capital to a better future.

‘An expression you hear a lot now is that the time for refurbishment is now’, said Heyne Tillett Steel director Mark Tillett. ‘The time for refurbishment, in our eyes, has always existed. It should always be the first port of call’.

Tillett was talking live from the 16 Chart Street scheme his firm is designing, a redevelopment of an existing 1930s warehouse building where the engineers have sought to retain as much of the building fabric as possible. Tillett showed through scheme designs, drone footage and a walk-through trailed by a cameraperson, how a new roof and side extension have been added using structural timber. This timber acts as a natural carbon store while exposed structural timber has significantly reduced the carbon cost of the project.

16 Chart Street
The firm has recently finished work on projects including the Standard Hotel, 60 London Wall, 160 Old Street and 77 Coleman, all schemes with ‘good bones’, and a principle it has repeated in creating bigger and better office premises for its staff. ‘there was no question we would ever pull it down’, said Tillett, recognising the ‘fantastic potential’ it had, minimising demolition save for replacing its flat roof with a saw-tooth profiled run of roof lights, basement and side extension. The raised floors in the original building, however, were something of a bugbear of Tillett’s; ‘I think in a few years they will be designed out’, he said. ‘There will be a big market for retrospectively removing raised floors and adjusting stairs and lifts to suit’.

Heyne Tillett Steel associate director ran through the technical design issues of the project and key decisions, the firm’s Laura Batty adding how the embodied carbon and whole life carbon had been calculated. ‘By reusing the existing structure and using lots of timber we’ve massively reduced the upfront embodied carbon’, she said. ‘Which we consider a success in the context of a climate emergency’.

16 Chart Street
TateHindle director Harish Ratna took the audience through the practice’s designs for the Institute of Physics, which wanted a more open, welcoming and accessible design for its new location in the King’s Cross Knowledge Quarter than its old Georgian terrace home near the RIBA. ‘Their ethos is really in getting physics out there’, said Ratna, explaining how the design aimed to attract visitors from school kids to universities to industry to government.

Key moves included how the building is ventilated with chimneys, adding PVs onto a biodiverse roof along with a heat recovery plant and borehole cooling, plus high levels of daylight and a highly visible staircase to discourage lift use. The building includes an incubator centre as affordable workspace managed by the Institute plus a screen displaying information about events in the building – but also its performance and how data from rooftop sensors are fed through to the building management system.

Institute of Physics interior
AECOM associate director John Edmondson described how the design had been engineered to bring down demand and the trade-off between upfront carbon emissions and operational, before a panel discussion dealing with subjects including insulation, timber and fire issues, planning and the circular economy. ‘The circular economy is really a valid consideration’, said Tillett. ‘But we really should be designing buildings that we foresee as being for there for hundreds of years. Really, we should be designing things which are adaptable, not reusable’.
WATCH THE FULL WEBINAR RECORDING


David Taylor

David Taylor

Editor, NLQ


Net Zero

#NLANetZero

Programme Champions


Recent

What if….  our cities incentivised and enabled healthy lifestyles?

News

What if…. our cities incentivised and enabled healthy lifestyles?

what if we could transform our cities to enable a healthier and better quality lifestyle for all of us, boosting both me...

Five minutes with… Amy Petrikova, principal planner, Nexus Planning

News

Five minutes with… Amy Petrikova, principal planner, Nexus Planning

David Taylor talks to Nexus Planning principal planner Amy Petrikova about moving the firm to carbon negative, planting...

Delivering affordable – quality – housing

News

Delivering affordable – quality – housing

A group of housing specialists presented their thoughts on how we can deliver more – and better – affordable housing thi...

Stay in touch

Upgrade your plan

Choose the right membership for your business

Billing type:
All prices exclude VAT
View options for Personal membership