university of exeter business school buildings small

This £14m project balanced a number of design constraints

The main challenge was developing a design around a congested site, protected trees and high levels of methane in the ground - with sustainability high on the agenda.

High levels of ground methane were detected and part of our brief was to mitigate the effects. There was also a public sewer that had to remain. The foundations were designed to be set back from the edge of the building, creating a cantilever detail to allow for an exclusion area around the protected tree, and adapted to bridge over the existing public sewer.

The inclusion of a 'Vierendeel girder' between the third floor and roof meant that the second floor could be completely opened up, allowing for a Harvard style lecture theatre. A ground gas ventilation system was used instead of creating a barrier to block off the ground gases, which could only cause future problems. We employed state-of-the-art sustainable design principles and the project achieved a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating.