Clarkebond wins 2014 Building of the Year Award

Clarkebond has won the Building of the Year Award 2014 for the Research, Innovation, Learning and Development Centre (RILD) in Exeter.  The award for “a quality and distinctive flagship building” was presented by the Building Forum for Devon and Cornwall to Clarkebond director, Neil Marks (far right) at the autumn dinner last month.

The RILD project is the result of a £27.5m investment to enhance the developing life sciences cluster in the South West and concentrates on seeking cures for dementia, diabetes and mental illnesses.

While the different user groups require separation and privacy in laboratories, trial and research spaces, the central atrium hub contains connecting link bridges and largely shared spaces, such as reception, meeting rooms, break-out areas and the café, which all provides for operational efficiencies and improves opportunities for collaboration. Accommodation wings are faced in masonry with both a textured and smooth finish. The glazed hub provides plenty of natural light and engages the street with an active street front with views into the café.

The scale of the development was challenging when considering its surrounds and proximity to Barrack Road. This was addressed through the use of walls which slope away from the viewer, helping the scale of the building to feel less imposing. These, along with the vertical Brise Soleil to the curved hub facades provide the key features that create a new visual gateway to the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust Wonford Campus. The requirement to deliver a low carbon building for a BREEAM “Excellent” rating was a challenge. The solution has been provided through careful design and with the utilisation of PV panels and air source heat pumps. Through extensive thermal and sun path modelling excellent comfort conditions in the atrium space was achieved whilst at the same time limiting the need for cooling and reducing associated carbon emissions and running costs.

The judges concluded that “the clients, funders and whole development, design and construction team have produced a quality and distinctive flagship building for the South West that houses world class functions that have the potential to have worldwide impacts for the whole of humanity.”