Tollcross Housing Association Offices
Tollcross Housing Association Offices shows how close collaboration between architect and environmental engineer can result in spaces with impressive architectural form and improved staff wellbeing.
The new building is shared by the Association, the local community and a committee of over 60 local residents. The open plan offices are arranged as a series of rising, interconnecting volumes linked by a central sculptural staircase. This encourages cross disciplinary engagement and dialogue between the separate administrative departments. The building delivers a delightful internal environment, connection to the adjacent park, abundant fresh air and beautiful daylight.
At the early stage of the project, our 'Sustainability Matrix for Offices' was used to map out which aspects of sustainability were important to the client. This process helped to identify a strong desire to focus on energy saving through fabric efficiency, simple operational systems, and creating a healthy and enjoyable internal environment for staff. The fabric insulation of the building is 40% more thermally efficient than that required by the Building Regulations. Gas-fired boilers are the primary heat source and a PV array on the flat roof provides zero carbon electricity.
“a rigorously ordered and beautifully detailed solution”
RIBA/RIAS Award judges
The desire to make a connection to the nearby Tollcross Park resulted in an almost entirely glazed facade. To maintain a comfortable space, any heat that entered the space through the glazing needed to be removed by the cooling system. The desire to use a simple natural cooling strategy using opening windows required the amount of heat entering the space to be carefully controlled.
We worked closely with Elder & Cannon Architects to develop design solutions that enabled these opposing needs to be reconciled. The final solution used external perforated metal panels that provide shading and act as a physical barrier to allow large automatically-actuated side hung windows - controlled using CO2 and temperature sensors - to open behind. These openings allow large volumes of fresh air to circulate and cool the building. External perforated panels provide a rain screen to allow the windows to be opened in all weather conditions, and also act as a security and safety barrier.
“a calm, contemplative office space, with expansive views both within and outward… [the new building] marks the start of a new era for the organisation, its historic neighbourhood and community.”
Tollcross Housing Association