WWF-UK celebrates opening of BREEAM Outstanding Living Planet Centre with interactive exhibit by Jason Bruges Studio
Located on a prominent and challenging site at the edge of Woking town centre, the new Living Planet Centre (LPC) is the WWF-UK’s new ultra-green administrative building.
Created to set a dynamic new precedent for organisations throughout the country and indeed the world, it maximises on-site sustainable features and has targeted the coveted BREEAM Outstanding rating. It is designed as an inspired reflection of the functional ethos of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and includes an outreach component to welcome members of the public into the building.
The LPC houses 300 staff over two storeys in a collaborative, open-plan environment together with conference and educational facilities and the new WWF Experience exhibit. It actively regenerates and improves the site and is in fact built on a raised fair-faced concrete podium above a retained car park.
To reflect and enhance the rich surrounding ecology and biodiversity, the building has been designed to limit its impact on the site and this podium is flanked by a series of green, planted spaces filled with trees, shrubs and flowers.
The building itself is constructed of a dramatic and structurally-efficient 37.5m wide curving timber grid shell composed of crossing glued-laminated timber trusses. These are capped with a zinc roof featuring photovoltaic panels for energy production and large metal wind cowls to help ventilate the building.
Eastern and western ends are glazed, with timber louvres providing protection against solar gain. Office spaces are arranged around a double-height internal street which adds focus and intensity to the environment. The open-span nature of the building’s structure allows for easy future adjustment of internal partitions and layout to thoroughly future-proof the building.
A new bridge from the town centre has been constructed which leads to the public piazza at podium level to further connect the building with the community. Surrounding the site, existing trees have been retained and a new wetlands area created to provide a wildlife corridor from the Basingtsoke Canal to Horsell Moor and enhance the public realm along the historic canal.
Jason Bruges Studio was commissioned by WWF to design and create the WWF Experience, an installation at the entrance to the new building consisting of four immersive zones, each reflecting a different environmental theme and key area of the organisation’s important work - forests, rivers, oceans and wildlife. Guests are invited to explore each environment and are taken on a journey to discover, learn, connect and interact with these unique habitats in a variety of different ways.
Each zone is designed to reflect the sights, sounds, scents and ambiance of their different environments. Large-scale display screens play footage that has been exclusively commissioned in partnership with the BBC and each zone has its own distinctive soundtrack, created by the acclaimed composer William Goodchild. Visitors to the Living Planet Centre, both adults and children, are also encouraged to take part in a range of exciting challenges, quizzes and other interactive games designed to educate and inspire.
Sam Hoey, Head of Studio at Jason Bruges Studio, stated: “From the initial meetings right through to the final touches on site, the experience has been conceived to feel part of the building and complement the beautiful and highly sustainable nature of the Living Planet Centre by Hopkins Architects. Our team have worked with WWF and alongside the project team over the last few years developing and detailing these amazing structures and the immersive experience that will happen as the zones are explored by visitors young and old.”