The Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) building is an extension to the existing Warwick Medical School currently located on the Gibbett Hill Campus. It accommodates a team of around 75 academics, researchers, programmers, statisticians and administrative support staff. Their requirement was for cellular office space for between one and eight persons with additional ancillary provision of meeting rooms and archive space. The function of the CTU is research rather than teaching – it is used to monitor the performance of different drug treatments and physical therapies.
The new CTU building is a great example of a flexible modern workplace which meets the highest standards of energy conservation and sustainability.
There are two major components to the brief for the CTU building – the requirement to provide an enclosure suitable for the particular users and an aspiration that the building should address the issue of climate change and energy use. The University of Warwick indicated an ambition to set a new standard of sustainability in this building and this has affected design decisions from the outset.
Given the aspiration for a highly energy efficient building it was clear that the preferred configuration of accommodation would be compact while allowing for natural ventilation and a high degree of daylighting.
Throughout the design process the CTU building has been envisaged as an exemplar building in terms of energy use. The sustainability strategies which inform its appearance are:
- Zinc roof – to North lights and plant room roofs, used for rainwater recycling
- Sedum roof – a planted ‘green’ roof is used to dissipate roof drainage and reduce the burden of surface water drainage systems thereby reducing the risk of flooding
- Composite timber/double glazed cladding – high quality, high performance cladding using a sustainable structural material
- External solar shading – one of the most prominent characteristics of the CTU building is the vertical brise- soleils arranged along the East and West elevations. They are designed to shade the building from excess solar gain and thus avoid the need for mechanical air conditioning.
- University of Warwick
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