SUNDAY 22 JULY 2018

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Six of the best: RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist announced

Lead News

RIBA Stirling Prize 

The six shortlisted buildings that will go head-to-head for UK architecture’s highest accolade have been unveiled

This year’s RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist of six includes a highly-innovative new workplace in the City of London which pushes architecture’s boundaries and seeks to enhance the neighbouring public realm (Bloomberg) by Foster + Partners; a poetic Jewish cemetery constructed using rammed earth walls (Bushey Cemetery) by Waugh Thistleton Architects; a high-quality exemplar of student housing for Roehampton University, built on a commendably modest budget (Chadwick Hall) by Henley Halebrown; an ingenious reconfiguration and extension of the Post-Modern Tate St Ives (New Tate St Ives) by Jamie Fobert Architects with Evans & Shalev; a fascinating contemporary community centre inspired by the college cloisters and courts of Cambridge for the new residents of North West Cambridge (Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery) by MUMA LLP; and a theatre which floats above th

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Innovation thrives in Winnipeg

Innovation thrives in Winnipeg

Diamond Schmitt Architects and Number TEN Architectural Group are combining on this project in Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley

Construction has commenced on a $95-million Innovation Centre at the Red River College Exchange District campus in Winnipeg, Canada. This transformative project positions architectural innovation to inspire and support a culture of advanced learning and knowledge transfer. The 100,000-square-foot development designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects in joint venture with Number TEN Architectural Group incorporates a repurposed downtown heritage building and new construction to create a dynamic crossroads with state-of-the-art facilities for applied research, entrepreneurship and commercialization. “The Innovation Centre is deeply informed by its context with connection to the street and a layering of space and natural light through an orchestrated sequence of spaces large and small,” said Michael Leckman, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.  A hallmark of the Innovation Centre will be the collaboration with industry and the emerging startup sector of Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley. The building’s design features distinct and thematic zones that underscore this engagement. “The Agora, inspired by its Greek precedent, forms the heart of the facility – an open space for orchestrated ‘collisions’ between students and faculty, industry partners and the college as a whole,” added Sydney Browne, Principal, Diamond Schmitt. “An atrium above this zone brings daylight into the core and transforms a helical stair from mere circulation to become a focal point.” Innovation Zones including the Sandbox for pitch sessions and advanced computer education space overlook and experience the Agora. These highly transparent program areas emphasize the everyday experience of students, faculty and staff. The threshold between the new and existing structures is bathed in natural light to reveal the subtle excellence of the century-old Scott Fruit Building.  The Roundhouse anchors the west corner of the new building and is the symbolic centre, imbued with Indigenous meaning and European history. At roof level, the City Room will be a beacon enveloped in bold traditional art that is steeped in local culture and visible both on the ceiling of this fully glazed space and across the cladding and soffit. Targeting net-zero energy consumption, the skin of the new high-performance building consists of photovoltaic glass panels that create energy and also change colour depending on the angle of view and weather conditions. “Red River College is a forward-thinking institution that recognizes the important role that innovation and industry partnerships play in creating the best opportunities for today’s workforce and this facility embodies these noble ambitions,” said Number TEN Partner Doug Hanna. “When we first proposed this campus expansion in the Exchange District, we wanted to create a space that embraced a new way of teaching and learning. A space that would bring together students with education and industry professionals, and a space that would embrace social innovation and enterprise, and allow us to continue to focus on groundbreaking innovative research,” said Paul Vogt, President & CEO, Red River College. “Number TEN and Diamond Schmitt embraced this vision and have turned it into reality. We’re very proud of this project and can’t wait to share it with the community.” This fast-track project is slated for completion in 2020. Nick Myall News editor

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HS4Air between Gatwick and Heathrow awaits the greenlight

HS4Air between Gatwick and Heathrow awaits the greenlight

The journey time between Britain’s busiest airports could be slashed to as little as 15 minutes if a new M25 style rail link gets the go-ahead

As high speed rail projects continue to be developed in the UK a new image has been revealed for HS4Air, the proposal for a new high-speed railway around London that passes via both Gatwick and Heathrow Airports. The proposal will be submitted to the Department for Transport in response to a call for ideas within the rail sector. The proposal will also have an important role for stimulating much-needed new housing developments in the South East over the coming decades. HS4Air has been developed by London-based Expedition Engineering together with architects Weston Williamson + Partners (WW+P) and planning and development consultants Turley. The proposed new railway, estimated to cost £10bn, is proposed to connect HS1 at Ashford to HS2 North West of London via Heathrow and Gatwick airports with a spur connection to the Great Western Main Line.  Dubbed the “M25 for high-speed trains”, HS4Air would allow train journey times to be slashed from the UK’s two most important airports together with their hinterlands in South East England to the Midlands, North England and South Wales. HS4Air will reduce journey times as follows: Ashford to Gatwick: 25 minutes (typically 1 hour 50 mins today) Manchester to Heathrow: 1 hour 10 mins (typically 3 hours 20 mins today) Heathrow to Gatwick: 15 minutes Cardiff to Heathrow: 1 hour 40 mins (typically 2 hours 50 mins today) Birmingham to Paris:  3 hours (typically 3 hours 50 minutes by air) Four new stations along HS4Air at Ashford, Tonbridge, Gatwick and Heathrow will provide important new points of new transport connectivity to the rest of the UK beyond London. Both Heathrow and Gatwick airports will become multi-modal regional transport hubs with many passengers using these stations even if they are not catching a plane. The new connectivity created by the proposed high-speed line and the transport hubs along it are expected to act as a boost for regional economies from South East England to northern England. Commenting on the project Expedition director Alistair Lenczner said: “As a joined-up, strategically important piece of infrastructure, HS4Air offers new connectivity that will provide an economic boost for the entire country. The multi-benefit nature of the project means that its will offer a better return on infrastructure investment than is often the case for infrastructure projects that have only a single primary objective. HS4Air will overcome the barrier that historic London represents in terms of rail connectivity between the UK regions and Europe. By allowing London to be bypassed at high speed, economic activity between the UK regions and Europe can expect to grow.  The very positive response the HS4Air project has received from various parties suggests that the proposal can expect widespread public support as it moves forward”.   WW+P associate partner Nick McGough added: “HS4Air takes the problem of linking HS1 with HS2 and turns it into an opportunity in by-passing London entirely whilst better connecting the UK’s two largest airports and the country generally through high speed rail. This generates huge regeneration potential and much wider economic benefits for the whole country. It is exciting that the DfT’s Rail Market Led Proposal initiative opens the door for this sort of innovative proposal. HS4Air can help unlock opportunities for much needed housing in the South East through joined-up and sustainable infrastructure development.” HS4Air will remove London as the historic barrier for railway connectivity between UK regions North and West of London and continental Europe. By providing a fast “bypass” rail route around London, fast direct passenger and freight trains from the Midlands and North England to Europe can be made. City centre to city centre journey times from both Birmingham and Manchester to Paris will be faster using HS4Air than travelling by air. As a result, HS4Air will become a catalyst for economic activity between the UK regions and Europe.  By taking the people and freight out of London that does not need or want to pass through the congested metropolis, HS4Air is expected to release capacity on the London rail network back for use by the intra-London market.      How the line works HS4Air connects the existing HS1 rail line to the Channel Tunnel to the planned HS2 rail line from London to Birmingham along a route that passes through Gatwick (LGW) and Heathrow (LHR) airports to the south and west of London. HS4Air also includes a connection to the Great Western Main Line railway (GWML) to allow new connectivity with South Wales and the West of England.  The connectivity achieved by HS4Air will create a joined-up high-speed railway network across the UK and provide fast nationwide direct rail access to the country’s most important airports. The length of the new HS4Air railway extends 140km between its connections with HS1 at Ashford and with HS2 near Denham, North West of London.  About 40 percent of the HS4Air line is created by the adoption of an existing Network Rail railway between Tonbridge and Ashford which, being flat and straight, can readily be upgraded for use by for high speed trains.  A significant part of the HS4Air project is that it will allow the introduction of a fast shuttle service between Gatwick and Heathrow airports with a 15-minute transfer time. This connectivity will mean that, from a user viewpoint, the two airports will effectively become one airport and mean that both airports will have substantially improved capacity and resilience in terms of their surface transport access.   To minimise its impact on environmentally sensitive areas such as the Surrey Hills (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) or to pass under built up areas around the airports, about 20 per cent of the railway will run in tunnels. To the West of London, HS4Air will run alongside the M25, to make use of an existing transport corridor.  Stronger transport links between the towns and cities in South East England and the rest of the UK (avoiding London) will stimulate regional economic growth across the country and contribute to the aims of the Governments Industrial Strategy to reduce the productivity gap across the country. HS4Air provides high speed rail connectivity that will stimulate new communities along and adjacent to it. Tens of thousands of new homes could be expected at locations such as the Medway Valley, Ashford and along the M3 corridor. It will also align with existing government housing proposals by creating investor confidence and supporting sustainable transport solutions. Director of Economics at Turley, Amy Gilham said: “The HS4Air proposal ties in with many of the UK Government’s economic growth objectives. By reducing journey times by rail the line will help to deliver the Government’s main ambition of its Modern Industrial Strategy – to reduce the productivity gap across the country. It will also help to deliver much needed housing and employment growth in areas of recognised pressure, particularly the South East, by opening up sites and creating opportunities for sustainable development”. Nick Myall News editor

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Helsinki’s  new cultural powerhouse

Helsinki’s new cultural powerhouse

The Amos Rex Art museum will open in Helsinki on 30 August 2018, with “Massless” a major international exhibition by the Tokyo-based digital art collective teamLab filling its 2,200 sq m gallery space

The Finnish capital Helsinki will gain a new cultural landmark on 30 August 2018 when the doors of Amos Rex open to the public. The new art museum will complete after a five-year, €50 million project designed by architecture firm JKMM, which has seen the refurbishment of the landmark 1930’s Lasipalatsi building in Central Helsinki.  At the heart of the museum, a new 2,200 sq m world-class flexible gallery space has been created beneath a remodelled public square. Amos Rex will open with Massless, an installation by the Tokyo-based digital art collective teamLab.  Massless will feature five digital artworks: four fully immersive spaces created using digital projection, including a new work making its debut at Amos Rex, and an LCD screen-based display. The exhibition will be one of the largest completed by the collective outside Japan and the first teamLab exhibition in the Nordic region. Kai Kartio, Director of Amos Rex, said: “The opening of Amos Rex is one of the biggest events to occur in the cultural life of Helsinki for a generation and will offer unrivalled facilities for the display of art, exhibitions, film and performance. Art used to be something you hung on the wall and went respectfully to contemplate. Today art is increasingly interactive and conversational. It is something people make and experience together. Contemporary art finds all the time new forms and new media and this is exemplified in the work of our first artistic contributor, teamLab.  teamLab’s immersive and participatory digital artwork is a fantastic way to demonstrate the expressive possibilities opened up to us by our new galleries.” Jan Vapaavuori , Mayor of Helsinki said: "The City of Helsinki is delighted to partner with Föreningen Konstsamfundet and the Amos Anderson Art Museum to create this world-class cultural facility that will open up opportunities for Finns and our international visitors to experience new forms of cultural expression. Helsinki’s goal is to champion world-class culture, arts and education opportunities for all of our citizens and people visiting our city. Access to the most exciting examples of cultural production from around the world allows us to grow our minds beyond the confines of everyday experience, giving our citizens a global outlook, educating and entertaining in equal measure.” The Amos Rex museum is a major new cultural landmark for the City of Helsinki. Designed by JKMM Architects, the new museum is housed in the distinguished 1930s Lasipalatsi building in Central Helsinki and will add to an established cultural quarter that already includes the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki Music Centre, Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall, the National Museum of Finland, the Finnish Museum of Natural History, the Ateneum Museum, Helsinki Art Museum (HAM) and the soon-to be completed Oodi Central Library. Amos Rex’s exhibition programme will extend from the newest, often experimental, contemporary art to 20th-century Modernism and ancient cultures. Amos Rex aims to present captivating and ambitious art refreshingly and exuberantly. The goal will be for the past, present and future to produce unique experiences and surprising encounters beneath and above ground, and on the screen. The centrepiece of the new museum is a 2,200 sq m gallery space created beneath the Lasipalatsi square which will offer the curators of Amos Rex the opportunity to accommodate large scale works of art and performance, and to stage exhibitions, installations and performance in a hugely flexible space with a high degree of technical control. The roof of the new gallery is formed by a series of domes with angled rooflights that frame views of the surrounding area and allow exhibitions to be lit with natural light if the curators choose. The shape of the domes is expressed in the topography of the newly landscaped public square which sits above the galleries, as a series of gently rolling forms clad in concrete tiles. The gallery will be supported by world-class technical and storage spaces in an additional basement storey beneath the galleries, giving Amos Rex the necessary facilities to loan artefacts from other institutions internationally. Asmo Jaaksi, Founding Partner of JKMM said: “Integrating one of Finland’s architecturally pioneering 1930s buildings - Lasipalatsi - as part of the Amos Rex project has been a moving experience. By adding a bold new layer to this special site, we feel we are connecting past with present. We would like this to come across as a seamless extension as well as an exciting museum space very much of its time. We would like the new Lasipalatsi Square with its gently curving ceiling domes to be received as a welcome addition to Helsinki’s urban culture; a place everyone and anyone in the city can feel is their own.” Entry to Amos Rex will be free for everybody under the age of 18 and an art education workshop dedicated to children and youngsters will occupy space alongside the main gallery. Visitors between the ages of 18 and 30 will pay a special reduced entry fee of €5. In addition to the new gallery and art-handling spaces beneath the Lasipalatsi square, Amos Rex will feature a 590 seat cinema, the 1930’s Bio Rex cinema, which has been incorporated into Amos Rex. The entire Lasipalatsi building, one of Finland’s most significant early modernist buildings, has been given a 13,000 sq m refurbishment, overseen by JKMM, with special care given to preserve original features that include the first external neon lighting in Finland.  Existing restaurants and shops within the Lasipalatsi will continue to trade and will help contribute to the life and activity of the building and its public square.  The Amos Rex museum has its origins in the Amos Anderson Art Museum, which since 1965 has been Helsinki’s leading private museum.  To meet changes in the practice and display of contemporary art in the 21st Century, the trustees of the Amos Anderson Art Museum concluded that a new venue would be better suited for providing new art experiences than the museum’s existing accommodation in converted newspaper offices. The nearby Lasipalatsi building, one of Finland’s best-preserved examples of 1930s functionalist architecture was identified as a new home for the museum. Amos Rex was constructed through a joint venture between the City of Helsinki and the Föreningen Konstsamfundet, an arts foundation set up as the bequest of the philanthropist Amos Anderson. Föreningen Konstsamfundet operated the Amos Anderson Art Museum and has provided all the funding for the new Amos Rex. The foundation will operate Amos Rex as a private institution. Nick Myall News editor

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IN BRIEF

The 100-year life: the role of housing, planning and design

Experts call for integrated approach to housing, planning and design t

RedBook Agency offers clients a new way to source suitable architects and landscape designers

A new service linking architects and designers with potential clients

BDP APPOINTS THREE PRINCIPALS

BDP has appointed three new principals who will join the company&rsquo

EVENTS

26.05.2018 

Collateral event of 16th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 
La Biennale di Venezia - Hong Kong Exhibition 6 May – 25 November, 2018 

Solent University’s sporting chance

Solent University’s sporting chance

This new sports building designed by ArchitecturePLB will support and enable excellence in sport, health and fitness related degree programmes at an up and coming UK University

This new specialist sports building will support the University of Solent’s ambition to increase its profile and standing in the British Universities and Colleges Sport league and enable excellence for the teaching of sport, health and fitness related degree programmes.  ArchitecturePLB was instrumental in facilitating a stakeholder engagement process to help refine the brief and steer the project – located in a sensitive heritage setting opposite a listed park – successfully through the planning process. Facilities include sports halls, fitness studios, a health and wellbeing gym, strength and conditioning gym and high quality teaching facilities. Once complete, Solent's new sports building will comprise of: Two sports halls (including performance, events and multipurpose facilities) Two fitness studios and spin studio General purpose gym (accessible by the public) Strength and conditioning high performance gym Health and fitness, and personal training teaching gyms Sports and exercise therapy clinical space. Limited parking will also be available underneath the building. Part of an ongoing £100 million estates development plan transforming Solent’s East Park Terrace (EPT) campus to improve and modernise the University, the new sports building facilities will support and enable excellence in sport, health and fitness related degree programmes and associated teaching and research.

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The latest link from the US to Canada

The latest link from the US to Canada

A new cable-stayed bridge has been lined up for the Detroit to Windsor crossing in North America

Canada and the USA are the world’s largest trading partners with $841 Billion worth of trade flowing between the two countries annually, and of this 25% crosses the river between Detroit and Windsor in Canada. It’s against this background that plans for a new Detroit River crossing have been unveiled. The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) has announced that a significant milestone has been met in the public-private partnership (P3) procurement process with the selection of Bridging North America as the Preferred Proponent to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Gordie Howe International Bridge project. Bridging North America’s design will see it delivered as a cable-stayed bridge.  Commenting on this huge infrastructure project Dwight Duncan, Chair, WDBA Board of Directors said:  “This is an exciting time for WDBA and for communities on both sides of the border. The selection of Bridging North America as the Preferred Proponent is another step forward towards the start of construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge – the largest infrastructure project along the Canada-US border and one which will stimulate the economies in Canada and the United States.”  André Juneau, Interim CEO, WDBA added: “The momentum continues with the selection of Bridging North America as our Preferred Proponent. Over 60 subject-matter experts undertook a rigorous evaluation process, putting in countless hours, to reach today’s decision. WDBA looks forward to the completion of the procurement process and to the start of construction later this year.”  Bridging North America was selected following a rigorous evaluation of the proposals submitted by the three Proponent teams invited to participate in the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage. The criteria evaluated included: project schedule management, the design and build approach, durability of the infrastructure, community benefits, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation plans, measures to ensure compliance with architectural criteria, and the robustness of the financing plan.  The technical and financial proposals were evaluated by subject-matter experts with extensive engineering and financial expertise and, as with the entire P3 procurement process, the evaluation was overseen by an independent fairness monitor who provided an independent opinion confirming the fairness, openness and transparency of the process. Over the coming months, WDBA will negotiate final contract details with Bridging North America. The cost of the project, design details and expected construction schedule will be announced publicly following financial close which is expected by the end of September, signaling the contract has been awarded and signed. The new Gordie Howe International Bridge will provide for redundancy at the busiest trade corridor between Canada and the United States with improved border processing and highway-to-highway international connectivity. It also addresses future needs and will provide six lanes to meet anticipated growth in traffic over the years to come.  The Gordie Howe International Bridge project will be delivered through a public-private partnership according to a set contract value and timeline. The project includes the Canadian Port of Entry, the bridge, US Port of Entry and I-75 interchange.  Construction of the bridge will begin in 2018.  Key members of Bridging North America include: ACS Infrastructure Canada Inc.; Dragados Canada Inc.; Fluor Canada Ltd.; AECOM; RBC Dominion Securities Inc.; Carlos Fernandez Casado S.L/FHECOR Ingenieros Consultores, S.A.; Moriyama and Teshima Architects; Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects, LLP. Nick Myall News editor

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FBM Architects get the greenlight in Barking

FBM Architects get the greenlight in Barking

This project in east London will provide hundreds of badly needed, new homes for local people at a range of rent levels and prices

FBM Architects have secured outline planning consent from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham for our designs for the regeneration of the Gascoigne West Estate, an exciting 850 home development. The project will have a significant transformational impact on Barking Town Centre and  the architects have worked closely with Be First, the council’s regeneration company,  to ensure that the designs complement the neighbouring areas of Abbey Road and Gascoigne East; providing the optimum mix of housing and community services. Simon Fraser, Director at Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects, said: “We have taken a very sensitive approach to the site’s historical context connecting and improving the existing townscape to create an attractive people-friendly scheme for the long-term benefit of local communities.” The planners, who endorsed the £250 million project, agreed that the development would result in a much-needed regeneration of the 2.4ha low density area, providing significantly more and better-quality housing, in a mix of sizes, in a safer and healthier designed environment. Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, which is leading the project, said: “We aim to surpass the quality and design standards that we have set at Gascoigne East, offering hundreds of badly needed, new homes for local people at a range of rent levels and prices. This is a huge milestone for this exciting project, which will make much better use of the space, with more traditional street patterns and green spaces.” Councillor Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing, said: “It is fantastic to see good quality proposals being drawn up that capture a mixture of realistic renting and affordable buying opportunities for local residents.” A further planning application is expected in late 2018 with the work on site estimated to begin in 2019. Nick Myall News editor

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An energy efficient future

An energy efficient future

The Portman Estate have sensitively refurbished a Grade II listed building to the Passivhaus EnerPHit standard, the highest energy efficiency standard for refurbishments in the world

Tucked away behind 21 Gloucester Place in London sits 2 Gloucester Place Mews, a modest listed building constructed in the early nineteenth century as a rear mews to the esteemed Gloucester Place. The Portman Estate has displayed its innovative approach to refurbishment and sustainability by sensitively retrofitting the building, which is Grade II listed, to Passivhaus standard. The Passivhaus standard was developed in Germany in the early 1990s and is a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building. 2 Gloucester Place Mews has been retrofitted to Passivhaus EnerPHit standard – a subcategory within the Passivhaus standard that is the highest energy efficiency standard in the world for refurbishments. This standard far exceeds current UK building regulations, which could take years to catch up to Passivhaus technology. Aside from being one of London’s most energy efficient homes, 2 Gloucester Place Mews offers its residents a tranquil escape in the heart of the city. The home comprises three en-suite bedrooms, including a spectacular master bedroom with an enormous walk in wardrobe; a spacious, open-plan living area, large kitchen and private garage complete with charging point for an electric vehicle Only a handful of buildings in the UK’s private rental sector have been refurbished to this standard, providing a unique opportunity to secure a sustainable, historic home in one of London’s most prized locations. As well as supporting the environment, those who live in a Passivhaus have reported experiencing a better night’s sleep due to the excellent indoor air quality in Passivhaus buildings. The excellent indoor air quality also improves general health, quality of life and wellbeing. Michael Jones, Projects Director, The Portman Estate says, “The Portman Estate is committed to tackling environmental and sustainable issues affecting those living and working in the area or visiting for leisure or business. Passivhaus offers a ‘fabric first’ approach to low energy buildings, with the core focus being to sustainably reduce the demand for space heating and cooling. Consequently, carbon emissions from 2 Gloucester Place Mews are calculated to be reduced by at least 75%.” Gloucester Place Mews, Building Features: Walls are insulated with a 40mm aerogel blanket used in spacecraft engineering. This ‘blanket’ insulates external walls to reduce heat loss and gain to a minimum; keeping the building warm in winter and cool in the summer. The membrane also acts to exclude any draughts Wall membrane and triple glazing keep noise to a minimum and ensure thermal comfort  Building features mechanical ventilation to ensure that clean air is circulated throughout the building The ventilation system and cold-bridge free design eliminates damp, draughts, dust or pollutants Features a charging point for an electric vehicle and low energy LED lighting Energy bills are estimated at a couple of hundred pounds a year as little energy is needed for heating The building has a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ – The world's longest established method of assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings Nick Myall News editor

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Woods Bagot toasts Queensland success

Woods Bagot toasts Queensland success

The new Queensland Government HQ boasts a host of innovative features including façade sunshades that improve sustainability

Woods Bagot's compelling new workplace for the Australian Queensland Government co-locating nearly 5,000 people from 16 sites and 20 government agencies into a single, ‘connected’ location, has celebrated its first year of occupancy, with the building's property manager affirming "happy occupants" a measure of its design success. It was also commended by the Australian Institute of Architects at the Queensland Architecture Awards (interior architecture category) earlier this month. The 41-storey building accommodates the Queensland Government Executive and ministerial offices and numerous government departments. As well as making significant savings through the efficient co-location of public servants, there was an intention to foster and support a culture of change across all departments and the workforce. The potential benefits were numerous: greater collaboration and interdepartmental interaction, happier people, improved productivity, coordinated delivery of government services, and the ability to compete with the private sector to attract and retain the highest calibre talent. Driven by the principles of best practice workplaces, the interior design led an integrated approach that informed the building's architectural form. The response supports the organisational shift from government to corporate, with a large scale plate connected across three-floor villages that results in an efficient and highly productive workplace for team members focused on achieving the best outcomes for the people of Queensland. Encouraging transparency and collaboration, the workplace interior strategy was designed around a central core that allows daylight to flood the floorplate while capitalising on 360 degree views. Social spaces and agile, open plan collaboration spaces enhance employee connection and collegiality. Connectivity on and between floors was a key driver to fulfilling the brief. The integrated fitout is arranged around a series of vertically stacked three-level atria (villages) that form a series of community sky gardens functioning as informal working hubs and the social space for each of the floor plates. Wider corridors –designed as laneways through the core – allow for easy movement across the floor plate. They also accommodate integrated breakout spaces which give opportunity for chance encounters to extend into impromptu collaboration. Woods Bagot principal Bronwyn McColl described the significance of floor plate and spatial planning to provide an efficient and highly productive workplace environment revolutionising how the Queensland public service works. "The dynamic of the workplace was analysed and tested against efficiency and user experience criteria. Social, collaboration and meeting spaces are centralised around the atrium to encourage greater interaction, hierarchies are minimised and the things that make us feel good – natural light, plants, views out of the building – are maximised. "It's the expression of a simple idea. We wanted people to enjoy coming to work and to become more productive, which also feels more satisfying. When you give people great facilities to work in and share, they take pride in their workplace and there are undoubtedly better outcomes for the state," said Ms McColl.  The project benefited from a great state sponsor driving the vision and allowing boundaries to be pushed with the fitout, although it took some time. A year, in fact, of testing and pushing of boundaries to come up with the final brief. The flexibility and forethought in the design provides a design legacy that allows the public service to move to a fully agile environment in the future. "The State knew what they wanted to achieve, but not how. A real challenge was shifting the Queensland public service so far from where it was to set this new benchmark in line with general commercial spaces," said Ms McColl.  Interiors scheme brings the outside in The overarching design concept for the interiors is informed by biomimicry – a design approach that examines nature’s design methods to generate new spatial solutions. Biomimicry techniques were applied to develop colour, pattern, texture and structure creating a unique and dynamic interior experience. Dedicated themes and visual markers are based on naturally occurring phenomena and are used to demarcate space as a means of wayfinding. Indoor landscaping has been incorporated to activate and ‘green’ central gathering points from which informal gathering spaces lead into collaborative work zones and meeting rooms. Drawing on the surrounding and broader Queensland landscape, the interiors scheme brings the outside in with the application of natural colours, materiality, patterns and texture. The sandstone walls of the lobby reference Parliament House while the QUT forecourt inspired the stone ground floor foyer which floats as a continuous ground plane from the outside in – it's a modern interpretation sympathetic to the need to create a place to stand the test of time. Building on a neutral base palette and spotted gum timber, each level of the building takes different cues from the right across the state’s diverse native flora and fauna. The floors are created as visual markers, bringing people to an identifiable floor where a sense of ownership and place is enhanced. Comprehensively sustainable John McBeath, JLL's property manager, commends 1 William Street as a great building to manage and one that has outstripped its sustainability performance goals in under 12 months. "A building that works well operationally is one that has happy occupants, and 1 William Street works well in both those regards. "In a relatively short space of time, the building was achieving performance in energy and water use well beyond the original design targets, which is a reflection of the good design and the occupants who are using the building well," Mr McBeath said. One William Street is Brisbane’s newest 6 Star Green Star premium office tower achieving an As Built v3 6 Star Green Star rating to complement the building’s existing 5.5 Star NABERS energy rating. The rating represents 'World Leadership' in environmentally sustainably building practices. Innovative features that contribute to its impressive sustainability performance including façade sunshades that vary depending on aspect and sun exposure, automatic blind controls, LED lighting throughout the office areas, rainwater and condensation collection for landscape irrigation and lift energy regeneration. Dominating the Brisbane skyline, the building is a distinctive emblem for the city positioned within an invigorated public realm and mixed use lifestyle precinct that connects the CBD to the Brisbane River. At ground level, the building is lifted so that it appears to float over a dynamic network of pedestrian and view corridors that connect the site to its surroundings. The form of the tower is angled away from the Brisbane CBD; it sits sensitively within the immediate CBD context while looking west towards inland Queensland, symbolising inclusion and an ethic of an open, engaged and progressive public service. Nick Myall News editor

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Lift off for UK spaceports

Lift off for UK spaceports

A number of spaceport sites have been lined up for development in the UK

The A'Mhoine Peninsula in Sutherland in northern Scotland has been chosen as the most suitable place to locate the UK’s first spaceport. The UK Space Agency is giving Highlands and Islands Enterprise £2.5m towards the development of the facility from which rockets will be launched vertically to put satellites in orbit. According to the BBC, HIE will work closely with a consortium that includes the American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin. The goal would be to have launches as early as possible in the 2020s. The Scotland money is part of a package of grants to foster UK launch capability that was announced by UK Business Secretary Greg Clark at the Farnborough International Air Show. He told the event: "We are one of the best countries in the world for the research, development, manufacturing and application of satellites - big and small. And when we see the expansion that is taking place, and the requirement that these satellites need to be launched into orbit - there is an obvious opportunity here for the UK and it must be grasped." Mr Clark detailed a total of £33.5m in grants from a reserved pot of £50m to help drive forward proposals. Lockheed will get the lion's share at £23.5. The company wants to bring the Electron rocket to Scotland. Currently, this vehicle flies out of New Zealand. A British version of the vehicle would have a propulsion unit and satellite dispenser developed and built at Ampthill in Bedfordshire, Harwell in Oxfordshire, and in Reading. Patrick Wood is Lockheed Martin's senior executive in the UK. "As a country we've not invested in launch vehicles since 1971 and Black Arrow, which put up the Prospero satellite. I'm really proud to be working with the Lockheed Martin team and our partners in delivering the the first launch from British soil," he told BBC News. HIE will develop the launch complex at A'Mhoine, with Lockheed using one pad, and a second pad likely to go to Orbex. This is a new company that has been developing a 17m-tall rocket out of the public eye. On Monday, however, the firm was very forward in discussing its plans, which have now been backed through a UK Space Agency grant to the tune of £5.5m. "We will be putting a new factory into Scotland where we will be doing the main production and integration of the vehicles. The vehicles will then be transported to Sutherland," explained Orbex CEO, Chris Larmour. "Internally, I don't think we realised just how big today is because we've been focussed on technical tasks. But this morning at the show, I think we're beginning to realise just how big a moment this is." The UK government has been considering the idea of home spaceports for a decade now, and has updated the legislation that would make them possible. While the headline news focussed on Scotland and the launch of rockets from the ground, £2m has also been released to further investigations into the siting of a "horizontal launch" spaceport as well. This would see a modified aeroplane leave a British runway, climb to altitude somewhere out over the ocean and then release a rocket that can put the satellite in orbit. A number of such systems are presently in development. The UK government has announced a new £2 million development fund for horizontal launch spaceports across the UK at sites including Prestwick in Scotland, Newquay in Cornwall and LLanbedr in Wales. The UK space agency says the space flight market was potentially worth £3.8million to the British economy over the next decade. Nick Myall News editor

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