Specialist precast concrete contractor Trent Concrete has won the 2010 British Precast Best Practice Awards' prestigious Innovation Award for its production of 81 unique ‘concrete radiators' at Feilden Clegg Bradley's Woodland Trust HQ.
The ‘radiator' panels, which were fixed to the ceiling of a timber frame, act as a "heat sink" using the thermal mass of the concrete. This works by absorbing heat into the concrete during the day and radiating it back out at night. In this way the maximum temperature in the building is lowered, reducing the strain on any mechanical air conditioning system and saving energy by allowing the structure to control its own temperature.
The Woodland Trust's HQ combines a timber outer shell with the structural and thermal mass benefits of precast concrete. Situated in Grantham, Lincolnshire, the development houses 200 employees and has been designed to provide a truly innovative and sustainable complex.
Delighted, David Walker, Managing Director of Trent Concrete, also collected the British Precast award for Creativity in Concrete, which was awarded to Caruso St John (Architects) for the Nottingham Contemporary - a project for which Trent Concrete received commendation in the Best Project category. The gallery has also been shortlisted in the 2010 Concrete Society Awards to be presented in November and recently picked up a RIBA regional award. As a result it is now eligible for entry into the RIBA Stirling Prize - British architecture's equivalent of the Oscars.
Nottingham's newest art gallery, the Nottingham Contemporary stands on the corner of Weekday Cross at the boundary of the city centre and the historic lace market area. A truly unique structure, it has already proven to be a new landmark for the city and demonstrates the versatility, flexibility and adaptability of precast concrete in all respects, particularly in shape, colour, size, texture and finish.
The cast pattern on the precast panels was taken from a specific example of Nottingham lace. The sample was converted into a 3D description used to drive a milling machine that produced a full size positive in MDF. This was then used to make latex moulds. Four, 14 metre long latex moulds were used to cast all of the green concave precast elements on the building.