Concrete Elegance: Sustainable Education

Concrete Elegance is a celebration of recent, exemplary, concrete architecture, chaired by Elaine Toogood and produced by The Concrete Centre and The Building Centre.

Below are the projects discussed on Tuesday 19 March 2019.

This evening lecture featured  two recently completed educational buildings, each demonstrating ways in which concrete can be used for sustainable construction. The New Student Centre at University College London by Nicholas Hare Architects and the Bobby Moore Academy, Secondary School, Stratford by Penoyre & Prasad Architects. 

Both buildings use the thermal mass of the concrete structure for energy efficiency, but with different strategies to suit the specific needs and locations of each project. The design teams will provide an insight into the design development of the projects, the specification and construction of visual concrete, but also the use of low carbon cement, recycled aggregates and design strategies to extend the usable life of the buildings. 

Student Centre at University College, London, presented by David Tompson, Associate, Nicholas Hare Architects & Jeffrey Blaylock, Senior Engineer, Curtins

Designed to be ‘an exceptional environment for student learning’, the New Student centre at UCL is located adjacent to the Bloomsbury Theatre, at the heart of the university’s Bloomsbury Campus. A key aspect of the design was to create a high quality building, in terms of finish and longevity, and fully flexible to be adaptable to the changing needs of UCL over the long life of the building. The brief included 1,000 study spaces for students, a Student Enquiries centre, a cafĂ© and space for exhibitions.

With four floors above ground, plus two basement storeys a range of concrete construction solutions were employed to create the structure. High quality exposed concrete surfaces provide durability and thermal mass. Embedded cooling pipes set within the exposed concrete frame are connected to boreholes beneath the basement to provide free cooling as part of a low energy, low carbon mixed-mode strategy. The buildings has achieved BREEAM Outstanding at the design stage assessment.

Bobby Moore Academy Secondary School, Stratford presented by Anna-Lisa Pollock, Senior Architect, Penoyre & Prasad & Richard Williams, Balfour Beatty 

This new secondary school is located on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford and is one of the smallest secondary school sites in London. A big challenge for the design was accommodating the large programme of spaces for its 1140 pupils, on a tiny triangular site of less than 3900m2, and still manage to maximise the external play space. The result is a new exemplar for the high-rise school comprising 9,240m2 across six storeys. The building also had to hold its own architecturally against the dominant Olympic structures in the park.

Designed, in consultation with the David Ross Education Trust and the London Legacy Development Corporation, it has been organised to be fully inclusive, offering community-accessible facilities. An internal ‘street’ forms the backbone of the school, with voids punctuated on each level to connect floors and provide light from skylights. Most of the teaching paces are naturally ventilated, utilising low energy heat recovery units fixed to the windows. The flat slab cast in situ concrete frame is exposed to provide thermal mass and long term adaptability. It also includes 25% recycled aggregate, all of which helped contribute to the buildings target BREEAM Excellent certification.

The event is produced by The Building Centre and The Concrete Centre and is hosted by Elaine Toogood, senior architect at The Concrete Centre.