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Administration Building in Coventry

Spatial integration of disparate sections of the company, energy efficiency and internal comfort were central themes of the design. The building was to be naturally ventilated and was not to rely exclusively on central servicing plant. The office space was divided into a number of north- and south-facing strips laid out on both sides of a central atrium, which extends over all three floors. The atrium is articulated by three staircase towers, which also serve as refreshment points and business centres with photocopying, fax and other appliances. In this way, and in the design of the lighting rafts, it was possible to relieve the offices of many sources of heat gain. The continuous, elongated office and atrium space facilitated a natural system of ventilation in conjuction with cooling provided by the thermal mass of the structure. The exposed concrete coffered floors were made possible by incorporating ventilation ducts and other services in a raised floor construction. The underfloor ventilation can provide up to three air changes per hour in the offices when the natural system is not in operation.

The fenestration is divided into three strips. The lower two are operated manually by the staff. The upper strip is linked to the mechanical services system and, in conjunction with the ventilation flaps in the atrium roof, helps to provide night-time cooling of the building. On the south face, solar shades provide protection against the sun in summer. Internal blinds screen the offices against the effect of the low winter sun. The building is heated by a warm-water “heat bus” system, which draws heat from a number of sources.

This article is taken out of the following magazine:
DETAIL 3/1997

Solar Architecture

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