Five for 2015: UK buildings on course for completion

After hours of contemplation and deliberation, Buildpositive has come up with a list of projects to watch in the year ahead. They may not be the biggest, but they’re all hand picked by editor Josephine Smit.

Francis Crick Institute

The Francis Crick Institute, Kings Cross, London

This is a research facility on a massive and broad-ranging scale, with some 120 laboratories set to house some of science’s brightest minds. Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, University College, Imperial College and King’s College London are all joining forces to tackle some of the biggest medical challenges facing the world today in this new research hub. The institute’s laboratories will house 1500 staff, including biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians. The HOK-designed building right beside St Pancras International station is targeting a BREEAM Excellent environmental rating. It incorporates such features as:

  • On-site combined heat and power
  • Photovoltaic panels
  • Maximising natural daylight, with energy efficient lighting
  • Water-efficient fittings
  • Brown roofs, and landscaping to attract wildlife
  • Minimising waste in construction.

The project is being constructed by Laing O’Rourke, and has already had to incorporate some changes to keep pace with the demands of medical science. Two laboratories are already fitted out, and are acting as benchmarks for the remaining 118.

New Street Station redevelopment, Birmingham

The 140,000 passengers passing through Birmingham’s New Street each day are used to waiting, not only for trains but for the station’s transformation to be complete. That is scheduled for next September when the station and accompanying Grand Central retail centre – formerly Pallasades – officially open. Half of the new station concourse opened to passengers last year, and since then work has focused on building a John Lewis store, transforming the retail offer, refurbishing platforms, and completing the concourse.

Birmingham New Street

The redevelopment encloses the station in a giant translucent atrium, which allows natural light to the 12 station platforms. The scheme will incorporate a combined heat and power plant, connected to the Birmingham District Energy Scheme. Excess heat from the plant will be provided to the John Lewis store and to other buildings around the station.

Other green features include:

  • Low energy lighting
  • 60% of rainwater harvested from the stainless steel façade will be used to flush station toilets
  • Water efficient taps
  • Energy efficient lifts and escalators
  • Sub-metering for water, heating and cooling to monitor energy consumption
  • Responsibly sourced materials.

The construction team includes: Network Rail, Advantage West Midlands, Centro, Birmingham City Council (client); Foreign Office Architects and Atkins (design); and Mace (delivery partner and principal contractor).

Home, Manchester

Want to see a film, a play, or an art exhibition in Manchester? Then as from next May you could be heading to Home. The centre, which brings together established arts organisations Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company, comprises a 500-seat theatre, smaller studio space, 500m2 gallery, five cinema screens, broadcast facilities, and café and restaurants.

Home ManchesterThe project is part of the First Street North development by Ask and Manchester City Council. The arts complex is designed by Dutch architect Mecanoo to be welcoming, with large foyers and glazed facade. Project team includes: Wates Construction, Buro Happold, Concrete Amsterdam, Space Group and Charcoal Blue.


South Glasgow Hospitals campus

The laboratory and facilities management building of the new £842m South Glasgow Hospital super campus has already opened, but next year should see the main event with the opening of the adult and children’s hospitals. The scale of this project is formidable as it brings several hospitals into a central hub to provide ‘whole lifetime’ care.

South Glasgow Hospitals


The 14-storey adult hospital has more than 1100 beds, all patients in general wards having their own single room with ensuite facilities and an internal window through which staff can observe patients. The adjoining five storey children’s hospital has more than 250 beds and features a roof garden, with brightly coloured asphalt.

The project is designed by IBI Nightingale, with construction by Brookfield Multiplex

The Enterprise Centre for the Built Environment, Norwich Research Park

What this building lacks in size, it makes up for in green credentials. The building is designed to both Passivhaus and BREEAM Outstanding standards and aims to have less than a quarter of the embodied carbon impact of a typical building.

Key features of the centre, which promotes green building innovation, include:

  • 98% recycled steel for the reinforced concrete foundations
  • Timber frame and cassette thatched walls
  • 70% ground granulated blast furnace mix (GBBS) cement replacement for the building’s foundation and structure
  • Renewable energy technology, including 480m2 solar panels
  • 58 tonnes of recycled newspaper insulation.

Enterprise Centre for the Built Environment

Project team includes: Adapt Low Carbon Group (client), Morgan Sindall (contractor), and Architype (architect).



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