Centre Building, LSE
Rising to 13 storeys, the BREEAM 'Outstanding' Centre Building is the biggest and tallest building on the LSE campus.
Sustainability is at the heart of the LSE’s 2020 Strategy and Ethics Code, and we were appointed as Soft Landing Champions, Sustainability Consultant and BREEAM Assessor/AP to help deliver a project that reflected this ethos.
Facing a newly-created square, the building hosts five academic departments over the top 10 floors, above a student area and a range of formal and informal teaching spaces. The teaching spaces include 12 seminar rooms and four lecture theatres – a 200-seat basement auditorium, a theatre seating 80 and two crescent-shaped lecture theatres.
Following an initial requirement to target BREEAM 'Excellent', we played an active role as the project’s Sustainability Consultant and BREEAM Assessor/AP in pushing the design team and the project to achieve BREEAM 'Outstanding'. We went beyond the traditional Assessor role and helped guide the project, not through ‘box-ticking’ but by focusing on areas that added true value to the project.
Working with LSE, we developed a set of tailored environmental performance standards that built upon the lessons of BREEAM, explored sustainable development elements not captured by BREEAM, and pushed the Design Team to deliver an exemplar sustainable building fit-for-purpose. This included a greater focus on reducing embodied carbon; material specification and procurement was reviewed throughout design and construction to achieve a significant reduction over standard specification.
A number of standalone studies were undertaken that focussed on the health and well-being of staff and students and informed key design concepts. An example of this is the design of the stairs and how their design could promote their use. The result was an internal spatial layout that centres on the feature staircase running through the core of the building, visible from the main entrance and provides a series of break spaces aimed at encouraging social interaction.
From project briefing through to the ongoing aftercare, our Soft Landing’s process was implemented at all stages of the project design and construction. We led engagement with end users and the Facilities Management team from the outset, hosted dedicated workshops focussed on issues crucial to the effective building operation, management and maintenance of the development, and led the development of an Operational Risk Register. These all fed into a robust set of contract documents resulting in the appointment of a like-minded contractor team who understood a smooth handover and energy efficient building in operation requires more than design intent.
Our involvement as Soft Landing’s Champion continues as we look to ensure that the building meets the needs of the people who use and manage it, and help realise the challenging operational energy performance target that was set.