New Build Project of the Year (value above £5m)
The Hive, Worcester
The Hive is a fully integrated public and university library, the first of its kind in the UK. Born of a ground-breaking partnership between Worcestershire County Council and the University of Worcester, it provides library and IT services for both the general public and university students.
The Hive also includes the county archives and records office, a local history centre, the county’s archaeology service and a multiagency customer service centre.
The project was launched as a PFI competition in 2007, with work commencing on-site in January 2010 and completing in January 2012. Once it became clear that the initial target of BREEAM Excellent could be exceeded, the team pulled together to achieve an Outstanding rating – the first building of this kind in the country to do so and the highest score ever for a public library.
A passive design approach was undertaken, focusing on daylight, natural ventilation and using the building fabric for conditioning. The use of biomass heating and river cooling helped to exceed a 50% reduction in carbon emissions on the 2006 Part L building regulations target. The distinctive roof cones, emblematic of the nearby Malvern Hills, form a key element of the environmental strategy, introducing daylight deep into the plan of the building and also exhaust warm air, while the acoustic strategy was developed to provide different learning environments, from the children’s library at one end to quiet study zones at the other.
Cooling is delivered to the majority of spaces from pipework embedded in the concrete soffits, helping to enhance the thermal mass and radiant cooling effect. This approach uses a large surface area, so it requires water that is only slightly cooler than ambient conditions. For much of the year, this is supplied using direct heat exchange with water from the River Severn when the river temperature is below 14°C.
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