How AHR has transformed an outdated 1960s site into a new Civic Centre with serious eco-credentials
AHR has recently completed the new Keynsham Civic Centre and One Stop Shop for Bath & North East Somerset Council in the UK. In addition to providing the Council with high quality offices, civic facilities and public realm which will reinvigorate Keynsham town centre, the project is on course to be one the lowest energy consuming public buildings in the UK, targeting a DEC A rating.
Keynsham Civic Centre has recently won a number of prestigious awards including RIBA South West Award, RIBA South West Sustainability Award, and British Council for Offices Corporate Workplace and Innovation Awards for the South West, Thames Valley & South Wales region.
The new development has replaced 1960s buildings to provide 68,000sqft council offices, a library and one-stop shop, 20,000sqft retail, two new pedestrian streets, a market square, car parking and highways improvements.
AHR responded to the challenge of the constrained and sloping town centre site by creating two new pedestrian streets and a cluster of inter-locking buildings. This allowed over 50% of the site to be given over to new public realm and better integrated the development into the existing urban grain. Careful orientation of the buildings and an innovative acoustic louvre window system allowed full natural ventilation to be used throughout, despite the location within a busy town centre.
At the heart of the brief was Bath & North East Somerset Council’s objective of creating a highly efficient, robust and flexible building that would minimise energy consumption and maintenance while providing excellent civic facilities and a high quality workplace embodying a ‘one council’ culture.
AHR worked closely with environmental engineer, Max Fordham, to develop a pioneering environmental strategy for the project: it is the first in the UK to implement BSRIA Soft Landings to target an exemplary DEC A rating, which it is expected to achieve in 2017 once it has been in use for two years. This rating will confirm Keynsham Civic Centre as one of the lowest energy consuming public buildings in the UK. The offices have already achieved an outstanding EPC A rating and the project is almost carbon neutral.
The 2015 WAN Civic Buildings Award is now open for entries.