The perfect learning environment
Following a rapid expansion in student numbers, the University of York needed to relocate its Environment Department from a series of temporary buildings to a new, purpose built facility.
With the aim of providing a space that represents the department’s environmental vision, the new building houses state of the art science and physical geography laboratories along with new teaching and social areas.
BuroHappold Engineering was part of the design team tasked with delivering an inspirational building that boasts exceptional environmental credentials as well as giving the department room to develop in the future. Our client wanted to create a contemporary, sustainable facility that met BREEAM Excellent criteria.
Seeking to make the design a collaborative process, our team facilitated a workshop to gather ideas from students and staff, which we then analysed and discussed before agreeing the most appropriate strategy for the project. Adding value from the outset, our team used in house design tools to effectively analyse daylight levels and natural ventilation strategies, and assess the quality of various low carbon technology options against running costs.
Our response to the brief was to apply a hierarchy of solutions to reduce carbon emissions and achieve the desired BREEAM Excellent rating. We designed the layout of the building to enable high levels of daylight and natural ventilation throughout, complimented by efficient lighting controls to reduce the demand for energy. Our engineers also made use of the surrounding natural environment, placing photovoltaics on the roof of the building to generate electricity, and using the nearby lake as a cooling device.
The University of York’s new Environmental Building opened its doors to students in late 2015, providing them with outstanding facilities that support collaborative working across departments. Demonstrating BuroHappold’s commitment to delivering projects with exceptional levels of sustainability, the facility will reflect the University’s work in the field and aid the world class research that takes place within its walls.
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply