BCO Midlands and East Anglia Award – Best Corporate Workplace
The building consolidates several Severn Trent Water regional office locations in an operations centre of 215,000sq.ft at Coventry. Delivered with development partner Stoford, the project was designed to provide an exemplar solution enabling transformation of the business organisation by changing working practices and minimising operational costs. In line with Severn Trent Water’s corporate plan it was to set a new benchmark of environmental performance for a large corporate occupier; it has a BREEAM Excellent rating and EPC rating of B.
The building takes the form of two seven storey wings of accommodation arranged around a central atrium admitting light into the heart of the building. Expressed as white masonry sleeves these are attuned to the orientation, with small windows minimising solar gains to the south and a more open aspect to the north to allow views of the city core and cathedral. The wing ends are fully glazed with large bays articulated within the masonry, set back at high level to provide balconies and an element of modelling. At the west the bays are protected by motorised glass louvres in appropriately aquamarine colours.
A basement car park is provided underneath the building, replacing the former surface parking. To the south this extends beyond the footprint where it is faced in red sandstone to mark the medieval edge of the city and to reference the nearby cathedral. The car park is shared with the City Council and Severn Trent Water’s use is to be progressively reduced as part of a sustainable transport policy.
The entrance is formed in a new landscaped public space related to the principal pedestrian routes and acknowledging potential future change in the city’s area masterplan. The building is designed to reflect its context, and become part of the civic group including the Civic Centre and Crown Court; the design respects the sensitive historic site and makes a positive contribution to the city centre.
The building has adaptive cooling using the exposed thermal mass of the concrete structure to moderate temperatures without mechanical cooling, with large volumes of fresh air using the atrium as a return air path. High levels of daylight are admitted to minimise artificial light and enhance external contact. The main objective was to use the building fabric as the primary moderator of climate in order to minimise energy input for maintaining indoor conditions. Water management was given particular attention, setting an aptly low standard of consumption for a leading water company