Located in the heart of Clerkenwell, London, Technique is a striking new building, bringing together the old and the new in a thoughtful, sustainable design.
Formed from the refurbishment and extension of an historic gin distillery and a bank headquarters, Technique will provide 74,000 sq ft of best-in-class workspace and retail space, set across six storeys. In addition, the building will offer 5,000 sq ft of affordable office space for SMEs.
Developer General Projects wanted to minimize waste and re-use as much of the existing buildings and materials as possible. Instead of demolishing and rebuilding, the company chose to give new life to two historic buildings.
With the aid of thoughtful architecture and innovative design, Technique will breathe new life into two tired and outdated buildings, creating a new office space designed to support, inspire and enhance the lives of those who work there.
With high ceilings and generous spaces throughout, Technique will be flooded with natural light. The concrete in the existing buildings has been sand-blasted to reveal a smooth surface and natural tones. The building’s new lobby will be finished with Italian ceramic tiles, glazed with volcanic ash from Mount Etna. The space will be multi-functional and is designed to be used for performances and events by the wider creative community.
The existing buildings will be cleverly stitched together while the extension will be built entirely from sustainable glue laminated timber (glulam) and cross laminated timber (CLT). These lightweight materials enable more floors to be added while significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the building. The CLT will be left exposed and whitewashed to give a light, warm effect.
Three new floors will be constructed using the CLT and glulam timber structure, with the timber sourced from sustainably managed forests. This will result in an average 43% reduction in carbon emissions, (see calculations below) compared to using a concrete or steel structure.
In addition, by pre-fabricating the CLT elements off-site, construction traffic to the site will be reduced by 70%. Once the structure is complete, Technique will be finished with a 10,000 sq ft green roof, which will help to increase bio-diversity, while also reducing the heat island effect.
Scheduled for completion in 2021, the building is set to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating.
Structural engineer Heyne Tillett Steel carried out detailed calculations to compare the embodied carbon associated with constructing the new extension using timber, steel or concrete.
The results were as follows:
The above calculations only take into account the building extension (floors 3, 4 and the roof) and do not include the additional benefits of lighter construction using timber, reducing the need for existing frame and foundation strengthening.
The calculations also disregard the additional carbon benefits of refurbishing rather than demolishing and re-building. The kg CO2 calculations are given at practical completion due to manufacture and transport. Sequestration, the carbon that will be ‘stored’ in the glulam and CLT was considered separately and was calculated as -408,134 kg CO2
At practical completion, the glulam and CLT option reduced carbon emissions by approximately 48% compared to the steel structure and by approximately 40% versus the concrete structure – an average of which is calculated at 43%.
Further information: General Projects
Images: General Projects