Underfloor air wins at Baker Street
The mixed use redevelopment of 55 Baker Street, recipient of a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’, has been recognised as the UK’s finest refurbished or recycled workplace at the inaugural BCO London and South East Awards ceremony and AET’s Flexible Space underfloor air system was a key part of the building services installation.
Blyth + Blyth specified the underfloor system, in a building services contract worth £38 million, working in conjunction with Make architects.
The redevelopment of the 1950s building, former headquarters of Marks and Spencer, now comprises 850,000sq ft of prime office space, alongside retail and residential areas, creating a striking urban centre.
As well as being conceived to minimise environmental impact, with 50% of the building’s original fabric retained, the project was designed with optimal operational efficiency and flexibility in mind. The carefully considered building services installation has helped the building achieve a higher energy efficiency level than a comparable new build and the element of personal control associated with the AET installation brought about a greater BREEAM rating.
Where the air conditioning is concerned, underfloor was specified in parts of the office space both as the most efficient retrofit and for its adaptable properties, as Ali Yazdi, M&E consultant at Blyth+Blyth explains: “We had to ensure optimum flexibility and efficiency, as well as designing a system that made the best use of the height restricted environments across some of the office space. Sustainability was vital and we aimed to capitalise on commercial space whilst minimising construction costs. Being an existing building, the configuration of the structure lent itself towards creating a floor based air conditioning system. This maximised glazing area and, therefore, the quality of the space.”
The refurbishment of 55 Baker Street is also notable for the speed of its construction, with phase one completion taking little over two years from procurement – again, a reflection of the adaptability of the building services installation, as Ali adds: “Using the shared space of the floor void can bring forward economies in terms of sequence of work into the construction programme. Also, the system’s moveable floor tile units that distribute the air from the floor plenum provide flexibility for future reconfiguration of the space plan.”
55 Baker Street, as winner of the south east regional award, is a finalist in the BCO’s national awards – bringing the prospect of more accolades for underfloor air.