A new exemplar environmentally friendly sustainable trade, office and storage building

The development accommodates 280sqm of office facilities over two floors and 510sqm trade area and a storage area of 190sqm. The client’s motivation in developing this new building is to gather their facilities within one unit to optimise internal communication and logistic processes. This should ensure they can operate their business more effectively and to provide a basis for future growth.


A compact design solution has been achieved. The central circulation routes and ‘gallery’ to first floor allow for office accommodation on one side and the well lit trade area on the other. This ensures both internal spaces have access to natural daylight making the design both economic and energy efficient.


The design places the building towards the site’s southern end hiding all external storage areas from the open valley and allowing clear views for all offices and habitable spaces.


Key Qualities of the Design:


  • Simple clear zoning ensures the ease of use and management of the building
  • A ‘first floor gallery’ provides good orientation and unobtrusive ‘passive’ surveillance
  • An efficient compact access strategy including this open gallery on the first floor maximises the available floor area for functional spaces and helps to minimise the building’s footprint on the site.
  • All office and habitable facilities are able to be 100% lit by natural daylight
  • The building is naturally ventilated
  • The building has minimum energy demands
  • ‘Best Practice’ healthy building design
  • Energy is derived from renewable sources on site, with potential for Carbon Neutral or energy positive solutions to be implemented
  • Robust and low maintenance materials and detailing


Building Form and Massing

The building consists of three parts. A double height insulated but unheated storage area to the rear, a double height super insulated heated trade area with separated retail space, and a two storey office area. The main entrance, offices and all staff facilities are at ground floor level with additional office space on the first floor.


The mass of the building is placed at the lower level of the site behind the steep bank to the north. It has been positioned to face the valley, to the south east, and to keep all parking and external storage areas to the less visible north. The building’s main entrance is clearly set back within the façade to give a clear signage for visitors.


Passive Design

Gale & Snowden Architects’ approach to sustainable construction is to rigorously employ passive design principles to ensure that, through simple design, the building fabric enables the building to require minimum energy and water use yet be comfortable, easy to use and healthy for the occupants.


Rooflights are a prominent design feature of the building envelope, providing natural light to the building.


Louvres and windows provide natural ventilation to the building at multiple levels with the addition of passive ventilation stacks on the roof.


Structure and External Materials

The building is designed as a timber frame construction that offers a lightweight low embodied energy construction that is super-insulated with limited thermal bridging. A solid construction of blockwork internal walls and floor slabs guarantees sufficient thermal mass to reduce internal temperature fluctuations.


External materials chosen for their low embodied energy or to enhance the simplicity of the design include:


  • External walls - untreated timber, provisionally unseasoned ‘green’ oak cladding from a certified sustainable source and a plinth of blue engineering bricks.
  • Roofing – single ply membrane (non pvc) roof covering suitable for this semi-rural industrial context.
  • Windows and doors – triple glazed high performance timber windows and doors.


The project has been designed to exceed Carbon Trust ‘Best Practice’ for office design.