It’s easy being green

Sian
Thursday 24 Nov 2011

Essex University builds on environmental ethos to produce new low-carbon school


BDP’s interdisciplinary team has been selected to design the £14m Essex Business School at the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus.

The new building will be zero-carbon as part of the school’s ethos to lead the development of sustainable business strategies. Therefore, as a simple response to the sloping site, the school has been designed to be visibly sustainable at every level, from its orientation on site, choice of structure and materials, landscaping and passive engineering strategies.

The site is located in the Wivenhoe Park on a hillside overlooking the River Colne estuary, forming an important link between the existing 60’s campus and the university’s new Knowledge Gateway research park.

BDP’s three storey timber frame building is conceived as a south facing crescent, shaped around a mature oak tree on the sloping site. Offices and teaching spaces in the building wrap around a winter garden which has an ETFE and timber roof. The roof is covered in Photovoltaics that take full advantage of the south orientation to provide renewable energy for a combined heat and power installation, enabling the net export of energy to offset carbon emissions from the building.

The winter garden acts as a buffer zone supporting the passive ventilation and heating strategy of the building whilst also being the arrival and meeting space showcasing the green and social character of the new Business School.

The school will have an emphasis on postgraduate learning and research, with flexible group learning and media facilities to promote extended community and international links.

Andrew Nightingale, Director of Estate Management at the university, said that BDP was selected - from of a strong shortlist of six design team consortia - on account of its extensive experience in the higher education sector and the creation of inspirational learning environments.

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