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DEFRA Lion House

Alnwick, Northumberland

DEFRA Lion house BREEAM awards interiors foodhall

Sector: Interiors, Office
Client: Department of food and rural affairs(DEFRA)
Project value: £5 million
Project stage: Complete

Gibberd architects were appointed by DEFRA from the intial design stage through to planning, the practice then undertook interior design services for the building. The brief for this scheme was to create a building which was an exemplary precedent for sustainability within the UK. This was a key driver for the client who is a key public figure in environmental policy.  

The project, completed in 2008, hosted many suitability features with the focus aimed at integrating these systems into the design features of the building. The success of the project hinged on exceeding all previous benchmarks showcasing sustainable architecture.

Key sustainable design principles were employed, which involved maximising the opportunities for passive building design.  The building fabric had to achieve a high energy efficiency rating as well as electrical systems and technologies to reduce energy loss during the building’s use. Finally the renewable capabilities of the scheme had to be explored with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality.

The key features of the buildings sustainable design included:

·         Passive solar design

·         Biomass boiler

·         Integrated PV panels

·         Evacuated tube solar thermal collectors

·         Three 15 kW wind turbines.

·         Enhanced thermal performance building fabric 

·         Mechanical Ventilation with Heat recovery (MVHR)

·         Rainwater harvesting technology

·         Low water consumption fittings

Upon completion the Lion House became the first ever building of its kind to receive a BREEAM rating of ‘OUTSTANDING’ under the new BREEAM environmental assessment methodology. The building was later recognised in The 2010 BREEAM awards and was presented at Ecobuild receiving the OGC Special Award for Government Sector Achievement in that year with recognition given to Gibberd’s London architecture studio.