Hewitt Studios used a palette of pre-fabricated and sustainable timber products for the conversion and refurbishment of a former nuclear research and engineering building at Berkeley Centre.
Hewitt Studios LLP have recently completed the first phase of the conversion and refurbishment of a former nuclear research and engineering building at Berkeley Centre. The building is designed to become an exemplar of regenerative investment and an education tool in its own right. Elements of the building fabric will be used to deliver specific areas of curriculum, whilst the responsible re-use of an existing building sets a low-carbon precedent for future developments to follow.
Steel would have been the obvious choice for the alterations to the existing structure, but Hewitt Studios chose a combination of Laminated Veneer Lumber beams, glued-laminated columns and cross-laminated floors and balconies. This palette of pre-fabricated, sustainable and attractive timber products allowed for a rapid on-site build requiring no additional lining or site-applied finishes.
The design employs sustainable timber cladding, minimising waste through use of plywood in standard 1200mm sheets. Its distinctive pattern is based upon the dazzle camouflage of World War I warships. Rather than ‘daze and confuse’, it is here intended to reduce the visual mass of the lower levels of accommodation. It is also perforated and backed with acoustic material to suppress reverberation within the main hall.
Berkeley Green Skills Centre, Berkeley, UK
Program: research centre
Architects: Hewitt Studios LLP
Structural engineering: O’Brien & Price Stroud Ltd
Lighting design: The Lighthouse Design Partnership
Contractor: Kier Cheltenham
Area: 4,500 sqm