New, energy-efficient civic accommodation
Situated in the heart of the wider Moat Lane Regeneration Project in Towcester, the Forum was intended to be a new cutting-edge building that would be a focal point for activities and services for the local community, visitors and tourists. The council’s vision was to create new, energy-efficient civic accommodation with low running costs, saving money for local taxpayers.
The M&E challenge was to provide a suitable lighting solution for this slightly curved three-storey building, with special emphasis given to the lighting requirements of the library.
Careful consideration would also have to be given to the co-ordination of the services due to the location of the risers, and this posed additional challenges for the design team. All services needed to be located in the floor voids (low level) as there was no suitable ceiling void.
Attending regular site visits, and working as part of a cohesive team enabled us to ensure that the risers were installed in the correct positions according to our design. We gave the client regular information updates and explanations to assist their understanding of the design of the services. This allowed them to input their ideas for their vision while at the same time ensuring the energy efficiency of the building.
The ventilation system was a “mix mode” solution – a combination of natural and mechanical ventilation for summer and winter use. The control strategy had to work seamlessly and simultaneously to ensure the correct environmental conditions were maintained throughout the year. The containment design, at high level, required careful co-ordination so that it worked in conjunction with the other high level services as well as appearing aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Mood lighting was incorporated into the practical solution, providing sufficient illumination for the library.
This BREEAM ‘Very Good’ building now provides Towcester with a bigger and better library offering improved resources, technology, activities and services. The building is also home to South Northamptonshire Council and Council Chamber, the County Registrar’s office and adult learning area as well as the Forum Café which is enjoyed by the whole community. The Council Chamber can now accommodate a range of activities, from council meetings to training events, public lectures, cultural performances, and private weddings which take advantage of the setting adjacent to Bury Mount and the Watermeadows.
The building is providing the council with significant savings due to the lower running costs and also adds real value to the local residents of Towcester.