Hi tech use for chilled beams in Cambridge offices

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A new highly visible office complex in Cambridge, UK, has used Fläkt Woods chilled beams to help create the 3-metre full-height ceiling requirements of NAPP Pharmaceuticals, for their three new office buildings on the Cambridge Science Park.

The 1.75 million sq ft Park was established by Trinity College in 1970, making it the UK’s oldest science park. NAPP moved there in the early 1980s, opening its striking UK headquarters building in 1983, a 165,000 sq ft office building, and known affectionally as the ‘toast rack’.

The Company started work on their new office development in October 2007. It knew it wanted generous office heights within the 110,000 sq ft of office space, and this caused some initial budget issues on the £28m project.

It was thanks to early co-ordination that NAPP was able to save up to 25% off the fit-out costs, “As the tenant we had the benefit of engaging with the architect Aukett by Fitzroy Robinson and Builder and Main Contractor SDC Construction, at every level of design” says Bob Chart of NAPP Pharmaceutical.

Bob was involved from day one, and as a result, the office space has been designed to be flexible, achieving the prerequisite floor to ceiling heights of 3 m, as well as fully accessible ceilings and raised access floors. Feature walls, relaxing zones and exhibits are sprinkled throughout the open space, with enhanced views for the occupants and calculated daylight infiltration.

“We’ve created a fertile inspiring environment to encourage and nurture great thinking. The open spaces and the feeling of height help to draw people together, and relaxing zones help create a chance for the interaction of peoples and ideas,” adds Bob Chart.

The two outer buildings contain over 1100 passive chilled beams that have been installed above a perforated metal ceiling system. Supply air is delivered into the occupied zone via floor swirl diffusers.

Within the central building, bespoke exposed multi-service passive chilled beams were chosen to compliment their high tech environment. Flaktwoods engineers were able to create an extremely low profile chilled beam with aluminium-crafted exterior, housing integrated passive infrared sensors, speakers and direct/indirect lighting.

Commenting on the project, Mike Beeton Chilled Beam Product Manager for the UK, stated that “by working closely with NAPP, SDC and their appointed consultant Venables Associates we were able to assist in providing a sustainable cost effective system that offered the performance and flexibility that the client desired”.

The three buildings, linked by glazed corridors, are designed and specified to the highest standards throughout. Internally, office areas feature high levels of daylight and views, and excellent finishes. The stunning reception area, entered from the landscaped central courtyard, leads to upper floors accessed via the stairwell or the central core, which contains lifts, services, toilets and a fire-fighting shaft.

Externally, harmonic and expressive stainless steel cladding is used to bring a contemporary and distinctive design, while the building makes use of glass curtain walls, complimented with horizontal brise soleil panels, that extend out from the building, reducing solar heat gain and glare, and enhancing its overall visual appeal.

The reception features a large interior open space, and this clean high tech look provides easy access to all floors, enhancing the function of the building. The elements of the buildings are very neatly composed to achieve optimal orderliness and inspiring design.

Their prominence in relation to the A14 is certainly a talking point, as unique mood lighting is clearly visible from this busy artery road. The architect has created themes within the building; the lighting designers were challenged to match the moods and highlight and accentuate these features.

The result is an aesthetically unique interior space. The scheme also incorporates day lighting design features helping to reduce the light output from the perimeter fixtures base upon photocells.

White blinds have increased the perception of brightness while creating a high-energy, fun space. The increased ceiling height causes the light levels to drop slightly, but the illumination remains uniform regardless of furniture layout

“We believe that people are products of their environment. That is why we have created an inspiring environment that everyone can use, a resource in their working lives, where we envisage people thinking outside the confines of their immediate office. Finding space to reflect, to consider, interact, explore,” concludes the main consultant used on the Trinity project.