The Wellington Academy rewrites the textbooks on sustainable construction

An exemplar for sustainability and design, the construction of the new Wellington Academy, in Tidworth, Wiltshire, is due for completion March 2011, with the Boarding House due for completion July 2011. When Wiltshire County Council enlisted the Kier Group (Kier Moss) to construct the building, it was B & K Structures (BKS) that they turned to for an environmental and aesthetic structure. Thanks to BKS’s unique hybrid framework structure, that is exactly what was delivered.

By integrating four different materials to give an aesthetic and commercial solution, on this project BKS took hybrid structures to the next level. BKS was brought on board to fabricate the on-site boarding house and the academy roof itself after extending its product range to encompass X-LAM and acoustic cassette floors.

Andrew Deeprose, Design Co-ordinator for Kier Moss comments: “The architects and the academy were keen to ensure the building would be environmentally friendly. So sustainability was a key consideration on this project, and it was important when looking at sub-contractors to combine this with competitive pricing.”

Giles Blight, Architect for BDP, who were employed by Kier, required a structure with the environmental benefits of sustainably sourced timber and the strength and integrity of steel, to be delivered on time and on budget. Combining all these attributes, the hybrid structure from BKS was the ideal solution. Geoff Wilson, Construction Manager at Kier Moss confirms: “BKS was chosen for its ability to supply a cost effective sustainably manufactured structure.”

In the academy building itself, the progressive design incorporates natural ventilation and maximises the use of BKS’s sustainable engineered glulam beams and columns.  In addition, an X-LAM structural cross-laminated roof forms the central hub space of the atrium. 

The separate boarding house, meanwhile, features a timber frame, made from cross-laminated structural walls and ceilings, and cassette floors. Together with this, exposed glulam structural feature columns support a steel cantilever to a glazed roof.

In a three story boarding house facility such as this, where groups of students are regularly moving from room to room, noise reduction is an important consideration. Explaining how the floors installed by BKS helped with this, Giles Blight comments: “Due to their acoustic and insulation properties, the cassette floors, recently introduced to BKS’s repertoire, were key to the design.”

As Geoff Wilson explains, BKS provided a flexible service to meet challenges as they arose: “Delivery took place on time, and while the overall job took longer than expected, it was pleasing to see that BKS was adept at ensuring that there was no knock on effect from one zone to the next; the team was able to construct each area independently of the next.

“The fact that BKS is an expert in both timber and steel simplified everything from our perspective, as we knew they could just get on with it and we wouldn’t have to coordinate multiple agents.”

Located adjacent to the existing Wellington Academy, the new buildings – comprising the academy itself, a boarding house, a rifle range and sports hall – will soon provide a modern replacement for the outdated facilities, to meet the needs of the future.

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