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July 18, 2019

How to get the open plan office feel even in an old building

As long ago as 1856, the UK Government advocated the open plan office layout for “mechanical work”, as The Guardian recalls. However, the open plan office trend only really took off with New York’s Larkin Administration Building, which opened in 1906 with relatively few interior walls. That building had been

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£34M Residential Development Awarded in Leeds

Property developer Oakapple Group has awarded national contractor Tolent to lead the construction of its £34m residential scheme on Sweet Street in Leeds.  Delivering 216 apartments with a basement car park, the development known as Fabrik is part of the Holbeck Urban Village in the south bank area of the

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East London Office Reduces Energy Consumption

The Green House is a state-of-the-art office building in East London designed by Waugh Thistleton Architects that takes advantage of an existing concrete frame structure and juxtaposes it with timber CLT extensions, exemplifying modern methods of construction and sustainable design. Owned and managed by The Ethical Property Company, both the

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ELFOEnergy Edge Evo Range of Air Conditioning

Clivet is a company pioneer in the use of new technologies and attentive to environmental issues: in line with this philosophy, they have designed ELFOEnergy Edge Evo (WSAN-YMi), the new range of full DC inverter packaged air cooled heat pumps, equipped with the innovative and ecological R32 refrigerant with GWP

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BDC 318 : Jul 2024

July 18, 2019

How to get the open plan office feel even in an old building

As long ago as 1856, the UK Government advocated the open plan office layout for “mechanical work”, as The Guardian recalls. However, the open plan office trend only really took off with New York’s Larkin Administration Building, which opened in 1906 with relatively few interior walls. That building had been specially designed by its architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, to resemble an open plan factory. However, if your business is based in a building dating from before the twentieth century, it could scarcely feel of the open plan ilk. What could you do to change that? Is the building listed? Naturally, it would be wise for you to check this first – as, in the UK, it is impossible to alter a listed building without first obtaining listed building consent. Yes, that’s right – even wholly internal changes aren’t exempt from this rule, as Real Homes cautions. On the subject of homes, you could find – or already know – that your current business building was originally built for purposes very different to how it is now used. Yes, indeed, the building could once have been someone’s home. Alternatively, it might have been a warehouse which has since been converted into an office. Whatever the original purpose, it could have implications for your options. Often, barn or industrial conversions can be made into open plan spaces with relatively little fuss, as they were originally meant to have such a layout anyway. If the building was once a Victorian semi-detached or terraced home, you might be able to open it up provided its interior design is simple. What you can learn from libraries It’s tempting to simply throw your hands into the air and claim: “It’s pointless to make this an open plan space, it’s just too old to be designed in that way!” However, this isn’t such a convenient excuse when you consider the example of libraries originally built more than a century ago. Many libraries are laid out much like open plan offices, with scattered desks and other surfaces. However, people in libraries are rarely distracted from the task at hand, as everyone else is busy with whatever they are meant to be doing – and, of course, silent. It’s understandable, then, why the Signal v. Noise website explains that “the more you treat your office as a library of work – rather than a chaotic kitchen of work – the better an open floor plan is going to work”. Setting library-like rules can, thus, help you to keep your workers distraction-free. Get the acoustics right Unfortunately, if your workplace indeed used to be a warehouse, it’s probably resplendent in wood, brick, glass and other hard surfaces that lead to echoes aplenty. Fortunately, materials like felt and carpet, applied carefully and strategically in your workplace, can help to absorb and deflect noise. If you are unsure exactly how to apply those materials, keep in mind that their sound reduction properties can be accounted for in a luxury office design from Maris, a workplace design company.

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£34M Residential Development Awarded in Leeds

Property developer Oakapple Group has awarded national contractor Tolent to lead the construction of its £34m residential scheme on Sweet Street in Leeds.  Delivering 216 apartments with a basement car park, the development known as Fabrik is part of the Holbeck Urban Village in the south bank area of the city.  Demolition of existing buildings is already underway to make room for the 31 metre high building that will house a mix of one, two and three bedroom rental apartments.  Having delivered in upwards of £1bn of residential projects across the UK, Tolent will be on site at the end of July.  “This is such a great win for the team,” said regional director John Currie.  “We’ve been working closely with Oakapple to realise their aspirations on specifications, product choices, quality, and delivering a programme of work that will see some incredibly high spec apartments delivered in an up and coming area of the city. We have a lot of experience within the residential sector and this will be another fantastic addition to our portfolio.”  Philip Taylor, chairman of Oakapple Group, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Tolent on this project. As a Leeds based-business, it’s great that we’re not only bringing this investment into the city but also working with regional teams like Tolent’s Leeds office to secure local jobs.” Work is due to finish September 2021.  Tolent has been working across the central region since 1990, delivering a variety of contracts from industrial, leisure and more recently student accommodation.

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East London Office Reduces Energy Consumption

The Green House is a state-of-the-art office building in East London designed by Waugh Thistleton Architects that takes advantage of an existing concrete frame structure and juxtaposes it with timber CLT extensions, exemplifying modern methods of construction and sustainable design. Owned and managed by The Ethical Property Company, both the client and architect have pushed the boundaries of sustainable office design creating a biophilic development that improves energy efficiency in construction and in use by 50%. This sustainable 6-storey commercial property in Bethnal Green is a retrofit of a disused and derelict 1960s office block with a modern and flexible workspace for up to fifty social change organisations. The existing concrete frame was maintained to minimise waste, pollution and reduce carbon emissions that occur through demolition. A new 6 storey rear extension and atrium was added to the back to create 7050m2 of office space. Further office space with stunning views over the city is located in a new single-storey rooftop extension. The additions are built from prefabricated CLT and glulam reducing the building’s carbon footprint to a fraction of a conventional new building.  A new dynamic glazed wall was added to the west façade facing Cambridge Heath Road, providing passive regulation of noise, heat, sunlight and ventilation. The windows are set back from the façade to provide solar shading and acoustic protection. PV panels on the roof offset energy consumption and wildflower green roofs are located at second and sixth floors levels to encourage biodiversity. A large south-facing communal terrace on the fourth floor provides outdoor space for informal meetings and relaxation and there are over 80 bicycle parking spaces.  Inside, a full height atrium opens up the lobby space at ground floor and provides natural light and sky views from each floor’s circulation space, while acting as a place for impromptu conversation. The central exposed CLT cantilevered staircase is the pivotal connection between the existing concrete building and the timber extension. This innovative design was made possible using resin bonded steel rods placed within the treads, with the half landings suspended from steel tension system. Open plan kitchens encourage active collaboration. Use of recycled carpet tiles, low energy lighting and water saving technologies contribute to reduction in VOCs, electricity and water consumption.  Andrew Waugh, Director at Waugh Thistleton Architects, said: “Our commitment to championing environmentally-friendly building practices is perfectly aligned with Ethical Property’s own longstanding approach to sustainability. Creating workplaces out of CLT offers huge benefits both to the client, in terms of the cost and efficiency of the programme, and also the end users in terms of a warm and comfortable work environment.”  Conrad Peberdy, Managing Director of Ethical Property, said “Since we started 20 years ago, our policy has to been to always ensure our centres are as environmentally – friendly and sustainable as possible. With The Green House project we were very lucky to have found an architect with the same values as us who has designed a wonderful space that embraces sustainability”. 

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ELFOEnergy Edge Evo Range of Air Conditioning

Clivet is a company pioneer in the use of new technologies and attentive to environmental issues: in line with this philosophy, they have designed ELFOEnergy Edge Evo (WSAN-YMi), the new range of full DC inverter packaged air cooled heat pumps, equipped with the innovative and ecological R32 refrigerant with GWP (Global Warming Potential) of -70% compared to the R410A refrigerant. The new WSAN-YMi series of air conditioning is among the first on the market to use R32 refrigerant in order to guarantee high performance and low environmental impact. With heating capacity from 5 kW to 16 kW, it is characterized by wide operating limits, very high efficiency in heating, cooling and domestic hot water production. These features make it the most advanced solution for residential and small commercial applications. ELFOEnergy Edge EVO represents the first step of the new hydronic range with R32, which will be completed with ELFOEnergy Sheen EVO and ELFOEnergy Storm EVO, in order to offer high efficiency full inverter technology and R32 ecological refrigerant from 5 up to 94 kW of power capacity. Performance, low noise operation and flexibility ELFOEnergy Edge EVO WSAN-YMi replaces the range of ELFOEnergy Edge WSAN-XMi heat pumps with R410A refrigerant, offering an improvement of the overall proposal in terms of operating efficiency, functionalities, accessories, and initial investment. Performance at the top of the category guarantees class A++ in heating both in low (35°C leaving water) and in medium temperature (55°C leaving water) and SEER values ​​up to 5 in cooling. Applications that require extra low noise find the ideal solution in this product thanks to two additional silenced and super-silenced operating modes. The management of two temperature zones and operation in combination with auxiliary heat sources (such as a gas boiler) make ELFOEnergy EVO suitable for the most different applications and plant requirements.

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